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Softball takes five of six

By Hannah Vickers

Section: Sports

April 16, 2010

The Brandeis softball team improved to 20-5-1 after winning five of their six games this week. The only loss, which came at Bowdoin on Sunday afternoon, snapped the Judges seven game winning streak and gave them their first loss in 12 games. Brandeis has moved up in the rankings, now No. 20 in country in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll.

The women started off the week at home last Saturday with a doubleheader against the Clark University Cougars. The starting pitchers, Emily Vaillette and Caroline Miller ’12, gave the Judges incredible performances. Both threw seven shutout innings and recorded 10 strikeouts. With the help of their offense, Brandeis swept the Cougars 7-2 and 4-0.

Brandeis got on the board early in the first game thanks to a solo homerun from second baseman Melisa Cager ’11 in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Chelsea Korp ’10 hit the eventual game winner in the bottom of the second when she sent the ball deep to the left for a two run homer.

Korp, who hit .500 on the week with four RBIs and five runs scored, has been named one of the University Athletic Association Athletes of the Week.

The rest of the Judges’ runs came in the bottom of the fifth when they recorded four runs and three hits on two errors by the Cougars. Cager reached base on a single but moved to third on a fielding error. She scored on the next play thanks to a throwing error by the Cougars third baseman. With two on base due to errors, catcher Erin Ross ’10 hit a three-run homer to deep center to finish out the scoring for the Judges.

Vaillette was pulled in the top of the seventh and the game was handed over to rookie reliever Keliann Kirby ’13. A single to start the inning put one on base for Cougars’ Maureen Coakley who hit her first homer of the season on the first pitch from Kirby. Vaillette was brought back in to finish out the game. With the win she improved to 8-3 on the season.

Miller silenced the Cougars in the second game of the day, allowing six hits and just a single walk over a full seven innings. The Judges opened up the scoring in the bottom of the third. Korp doubled to right followed by a single to center by Cagar. Marianne Specker ’12 also singled to center to bring Korp home. Cager and Specker advanced to third and second, respectively, on an error in the outfield. Right fielder Brittany Grimm ’12 drove in Cager on a ground out to make it a 2-0 ballgame.

Brandeis added on another two runs and three hits in their next plate appearance. Center fielder Lauren Porcaro ’12 hit one out for her fourth homerun of the season. Specker grabbed her second RBI of the game off a double to center that scored Korp.

The Judges traveled to Maine on Sunday to face off against the Bowdoin College Polar Bears in a doubleheader. Vaillette earned her second win in two days in the first contest but struggled a bit more for this one. Bowdoin got on the board in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs off four hits.

Brandeis got one run off one hit in the next frame when Grimm singled and eventually scored on an error by the center fielder. They added another run in the top of the fifth, this time without getting a hit. Third baseman Danielle Lavallee ’11 walked to start things off. Rookie Casey Ducinski took her place at first to pinch run and did her job well, advancing to second on an error by the Polar Bears third baseman, stealing third, and eventually getting home on an error by the center fielder.

With the game sitting at 3-2 in favor of the hosts, Brandeis took the lead in the top of the sixth. Porcaro singled and advanced to second on a passed ball. Right fielder Carly Schmand ’11 singled and thanks to another error for the center fielder, Porcaro scored to tie the game. Korp came to the plate and lay down a bunt single to move Schmand to third before stealing second herself. Cagar came to the plate and had a two RBI single to give the Judges their first lead of the game.

The Judges added their final run of the day in the next inning when a groundout by Ross scored Grimm to take the game 6-3. Vaillette finished up the day with three earned runs, four walks and six strikeouts, having settled into a good rhythm after one rough inning. The Judges had three errors while their hosts had five.

The second game of the day was much quieter. The two teams combined for just nine hits, all singles, compared to the 13 in the first game. There were also only two errors, both by Brandeis.

Again, the runs for the Polar Bears came in the third. A walk and two hits resulted in two runs for Bowdoin. Brandeis managed five hits in the game but was unable to come back as they had in the first game and fell 2-0.

The Judges got back on track Wednesday afternoon when they swept a doubleheader at home against the Wheaton College Lyons. As with Bowdoin, the Lyons jumped out to an early lead against Vaillette, scoring their one and only run in the top of the first.

The lead did not last for long, though. In the bottom of the second Brandeis batted around, sending 12 to the plate and scoring seven runs on six hits. The bases were loaded with no one out after a double by Ross, an error by the Lyons and a bunt single by Schmand. The Wheaton shortstop dropped a pop up on the next play and despite the infield-fly rule being in effect, pinch-runner Ducinsky scored from third. A poor throw by the Lyons allowed Lavallee to score from second.

The damage continued from there as Brandeis solidified a six run lead over the visitors. They tacked on another two runs off three hits in the bottom of the sixth to finish things up with a 9-1 win.

Rookie catcher Stacy Berg opened up the second game with a monster three-run homer to center to give the Judges an early lead. The Lyons got on the board in the next frame, scoring two of their own to make it a one run game.

Berg nailed another homerun in the second, this time a two-run shot, that was the eventual game winner. The Lyons were able to add on another two runs in the top of the fourth but were silent from that point on. The Judges had four runs on four hits in the fifth to blow things open, taking a 9-4 lead. Cager added a two-run homer of her own in the sixth to close out the scoring for the game.

Miller got the win in the second game and the save went to Allie Mussen ’10.

The Judges will face Framingham State today at 3:30 and 5:30 on the road. Saturday they will travel to Connecticut to play Wesleyan. Brandeis will play again at home Thursday April 22 against Eastern Connecticut State at 4 and 6 p.m.

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