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Softball sweeps WPI with back-to-back wins at home

By Dani Chasin

Section: Sports

April 19, 2013

The softball team had yet another successful weekend, defeating Worcester Polytechnic Institute in a doubleheader on Saturday on their home turf. Improving their season record to 19-10, the Judges managed a tight 3-2 win against WPI in the first game and a 4-1 score in the second game.

This is the first doubleheader in which the Judges have taken both games since their matchup against Lasell the previous weekend. Both Wheaton College and Endicott managed to split doubleheaders with Brandeis before the Judges faced off against WPI.

Starting pitcher Melissa Nolan ’14 says that her team’s approach to Saturday’s doubleheader against WPI was simple.

“We look at every team the same way, whether they are ranked number one or number 100,” she said.

In the first game of the day on Saturday, the scoring for both teams did not come until the third inning. Center fielder Amanda Genovese ’15 started the play by reaching base on an error and then stealing second. Second baseman Danielle Novotny ’16 hit a double to right center, earning an RBI and sending Genovese to home base, securing a score of 1-0 for the Judges.
Next, third baseman Madison Gagnon ’16 lined out to right field, allowing Novotny to advance to third base. Stepping up to bat, Nolan hit a home run for her fourth time this season, earning two RBIs, and carrying both Gagnon and Novotny home to make the score for the Judges 3-0 at the top of the third inning.

The bottom of the third inning saw a reaction by WPI as the Judges took the field. The Judges’ pitcher for all seven innings, Casey Ducinski ’13, gave up one run in the bottom of the third and allowed two consecutive hits in the bottom of the seventh inning. Although the WPI Engineers squeezed in another run in the seventh inning, Ducinski managed to strike out the last hitter, leaving two runners on base, and closing out the game for the Judges at a score of 3-2.

The second game saw more batting action by the Judges and an early run for the Engineers. Nolan, pitcher for all seven innings, allowed WPI an early run in the bottom of the first, granting the opponent a 1-0 advantage. Overall, Nolan faced 30 batters throughout the second game.

Securing two runs in the top of the third inning, the Judges began to pick up some momentum against the Engineers. Genovese started the third with a single up the middle of the field, followed by Novotny grounding out to second base and Genovese advancing to second. The run, sending Genovese to home base, came off a double struck by Gagnon, securing an RBI and evening the score to 1-1.

Nolan, next to bat, hit a single to center field, advancing Gagnon to third base. Shortstop Anya Kamber ’15, who went 4-4 at the plate for singles, recorded an RBI that sent Gagnon to home base, which brought the score to 2-1 in the Judges’ favor.

The Judges’ last two runs were not made until the sixth and seventh innings. At the top of the sixth, Ducinski stole second after getting on base by an error. Genovese, hitting a single and advancing to second on the throw, recorded an RBI as Ducinski took home, raising the score to 3-1 for the Judges.

In the top of the seventh inning, a single to left field by Kamber, who then advanced to second on the error, allowed Gagnon to score on a fielding error by the left fielder, finishing off the game with a score of 4-1.

After the Engineers’ run in the first inning, Nolan shut down the WPI for the rest of the match. Nolan, who recorded two hits apiece in both games, struck out six batters and walked four when she took the mound.

When asked how she felt her personal performance has improved since her first year, Nolan said, “As a junior, I’m starting to feel like my time is running out. I’ve been playing for 16 years and knowing that I only have a season and a half left is pretty hard to grasp. What I didn’t realize freshman year is that I have nothing to lose by giving everything I’ve got.”

Ducinski, the pitcher in the first game, allowed nine hits and four walks, but successfully struck out four batters.

Although Nolan admits that the season started out rocky, she credits her team’s newfound consistency and Coach Johnson’s support for their success.

“We had a slow start to the season but we finally seem to have things figured out. From day one, Coach Johnson has pushed us to be our best and always give 100 percent of what we’ve got. Her confidence in each and every one of us is motivational,” Nolan said.

Hoping to continue their two-game winning streak, the Judges look forward to next weekend where they will take on Clark University at home on Saturday.

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