Seahawks earn split with Gulls on Senior day
NEWPORT, R.I. – After dropping the opener, 7-0, the Salve Regina University softball team scored in five consecutive innings to capture a 7-3 victory in the nightcap, earning a split with Endicott College in a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) doubleheader on Senior Day at Toppa Field. The Seahawks move to 21-13 overall and 14-4 during CCC play, while the Gulls slide to 19-14-1 on the season, including a 13-3 mark in the conference.
Offensively, the Seahawks were led by reigning CCC Player of the Week Jillian Quintana (Denver, Colo.) who had a team-high three hits and three runs batted in on the day. Sophomore Marissa Simpson (Brimfield, Mass.), junior Jen Cruver (North Haven, Conn.), and senior Kristen Parolise (Hamden, Conn.) each went 2-for-5 on the day, with Parolise scoring once and driving in a pair. On the mound, Jen Cruver threw a pair of complete games, earning her 20th win of the season by allowing three runs on seven hits in the nightcap.
The Gulls were paced by junior Colleen Martin (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) who went 3-for-7 on the day with a home run, two runs scored, and two runs batted in, while junior Krista Fales (Melrose, Mass.) led all players with four hits. Sophomore Kelly Michael (Ipswich, Mass.) also had a fine day at the plate, going 3-for-7 with an RBI and two runs scored, while junior Byrne Katz (Trumbull, Conn.) compiled two hits, two runs, and two RBI's. Sophomore Nell O'Connor (Harwich, Mass.) tossed a two-hit shutout to earn the victory in game one, improving to 7-3 on the season.
The Gulls took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning of game one, as Michael drove home sophomore Jesse Bilafer (Concord, Mass.) with a double down the right field line.
The score remained 1-0 entering the top of the sixth when the Gulls rallied for three runs on four hits, including a two-run single to right center by junior Jocelyn Russo (Middletown, Mass.) to take a 4-0 lead.
O'Conner completed the shutout by retiring 12 of the final 13 batters she faced, sealing the 7-0 victory in the process.
Between games, Salve Regina University honored seniors Deanna Ciccarelli (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), Nikki Hirschbeck (Trumbull, Conn.), and Kristen Parolise for all of their contributions to the University and its softball program.
After a scoreless first inning to start the nightcap, the Seahawks went on to score runs in each of their final five at bats, including one in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth.
Junior Meagan Jakiela (Meriden, Conn.) got the scoring started in the second by drawing a two-out walk, and then hustling to score all the way from first on a misplayed fly ball in center to give Salve Regina a 1-0 advantage.
The Seahawks added two more in the bottom of the third, as Quintana knocked in a pair with a clutch two-out single to put SRU on top, 3-0.
Salve Regina pushed its lead to 4-0 in the fourth when Parolise and Cruver delivered consecutive one-out doubles.
The SRU lead swelled to 6-0 with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, as Parolise came through with the bases loaded and two outs, lacing a two-run single to right center, plating both Jakiela and Ciccarelli.
The Gulls fought back in the top of the sixth, scoring three runs on four hits. Katz drove home the first run with a double to left center, and was followed by RBI singles from both Nicole Devlin (Dudley, Mass.) and Fales to cut the Salve Regina lead in half, 6-3.
The Seahawks tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Quintana delivered a two-out single to center, scoring sophomore Jennifer Edine (Warwick, R.I.) from second to push the SRU lead to 7-3.
The Gulls will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to face Western New England in a CCC doubleheader starting at 3 p.m., while the Seahawks will hit the road on Thursday to battle MIT in a non-conference twinbill scheduled for 3 p.m.