Nor'easters sweep Seahawks in softball
BIDDEFORD, Maine - The University of New England pounded out a total of 26 hits in a doubleheader sweep (6-5, 11-6) of Salve Regina University in The Commonwealth Coast Conference softball action Thursday afternoon at Claude Dubois Field.
Winners of 15 straight, the Nor'easters now stand at 17-5 on the year, and remain unbeaten (10-0) in league contests. Salve drops to 8-16 overall (6-8 TCCC) with its fifth consecutive setback.
UNE jumped out to an early lead in game one, plating four runs in the bottom of the second. With one out, sophomore Megan Gauger (South Paris, Maine) got on with a double to left. Following a walk, junior Erin Lyons (Salem, N.H.) knocked in both baserunners with a double down the left field line. Classmate Marie Mantelli (Thompson, Conn.) and first-year Allison Frazier (Tewksbury, Mass.) reached on singles to load the bases, and sophomore Casey Brigham (New London, Conn.) drove in two more with a single through the left side.
The Seahawks got two back in the fourth. Singles by first-year Marissa Simpson (Brimfield, Mass.) and sophomore Jen Cruver (North Haven, Conn.) were followed by a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and junior Kristen Parolise (Hamden, Conn.) laced a double to center field to score both.
Salve tied things up at 4-4 in the top of the fifth, only to see the Nor'easters answer with two in the bottom of the frame to take a 6-4 advantage. Mantelli knocked in Gauger for the go-ahead run, and an error allowed Mantelli to come around to score on the next play.
With two out in the seventh, the visitors tried to rally. Simpson reached on an error, and Cruver put runners at the corners with her second hit of the game. An RBI-single from sophomore Zeena Barbarita (Johnston, R.I.) cut the deficit to 6-5, but a line-out on the next play ended the contest.
Lyons earned the win for UNE, giving up two earned runs over 6.2 innings while striking out a pair. Senior Amber Zablowsky (Rochester, Mass.) came in to record the final out the game for her first save of the season.
The Nor'easters fell behind in game two right from the start, but responded with three in the last half of the first inning to grab the lead for good. Junior Maegen Johnson (Standish, Maine), Brigham, and junior Ashley Gott (Winterport, Maine) all reached with singles, and, after a ground out, went up, 2-0. Gauger followed with a double to right to drive in the third run of the inning.
Big Blue tallied four runs on five hits and an error in the second to give the hosts a 7-1 cushion, which held until the fourth inning, when Salve put two on the board. Parolise and first-year Sara Nelson (Bristol, R.I.) each had a run batted in during the frame.
Both squads added a run in the fifth to make it 8-4, and the Seahawks again cut into the difference in the sixth. Barbarita and Parolise each came around to score on a single by junior Nikki Hirschbeck (Shelton, Conn.), reducing the UNE lead to 8-6.
For the second time in the game, Johnson, Brigham, and Gott began an inning three straight hits, as the Nor'easters got one back in the bottom of the sixth. After a sacrifice bunt, Gauger connected for her third double of the day, to tack two more onto the total and provide the final margin.
Zablowsky went the distance in the nightcap to improve to 7-2 on the season. Johnson and Brigham combined to go 7-for-7 with six runs scored at the top of the lineup, while Gott went 3-for-4 at the plate, scored three times, and drove in two more runs.
For Salve, Hirschbeck and first-year Jennifer Edine (Warwick, R.I.) had two hits apiece in the second game. Cruver and Simpson, respectively, were tagged with the losses on the afternoon.
Each team returns to action with conference doubleheaders on Saturday. UNE is set to take on New England College (12 p.m.), in games that have now been moved to be played at Londonderry High School in New Hampshire. The Seahawks travel to Curry College for a pair beginning at 1 p.m.