Liz Neckes '08
Junior Elizabeth Neckes had three doubles on the day

Jeffs Move to 3-3 in NESCAC West with Pair of Losses to Wesleyan

By Justin Long

April 7, 2007

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College softball team came out on the losing end of a slugfest with Little Three rival Wesleyan University in game two of a NESCAC West doubleheader, as the Cardinals scored two runs in the top of the seventh and held on for the 11-10 win. The Lord Jeffs dropped the first game in much closer fashion, 3-1.

Amherst struck first in game one when junior Elizabeth Neckes (Dover, MA) led off the bottom of the second inning with a double, advancing to third on a ground out and scoring on a throwing error by the Cardinals to give the Jeffs an early 1-0 lead.

The Cardinals picked up four singles in the top of the third, scoring two runs and chasing first-year Alex Chang-Graham (San Carlos, CA) from the game. Junior Samantha Miller (Newton, MA) came into a bases loaded situation with only one out, but a grounder back to her allowed the Jeffs to get a force out at home. Miller then picked up a big strikeout to end the inning, keeping the score at 2-1.

Wesleyan’s Karla Hargrave got into a one-out bases loaded jam of her own in the bottom of the third, but mimicked Miller by getting Amherst to ground out for the second out before she got the third out by way of the K, preserving the Cardinals’ 2-1 lead.

First-year Meaghan Dendy led off the top of the fifth with a walk and was moved over to second base with a sacrifice bunt, allowing junior Marcia Whitehead to pick up an RBI with a single, giving Wesleyan a 3-1 lead.

Hargrave got into another jam in the fifth, facing a second-and-third situation with two outs, but got first-year Emily Neill (Kentfield, CA) to ground out and end the inning. The Jeffs threatened again in the sixth when Neckes led off with another double and junior Ralina Shaw (Tumwater, WA) moved her over to third. Hargrave came up big once again, picking up another strikeout before getting senior co-captain Caroline Polales (Winnetka, IL) to ground out, as the throw beat Polales to first base by just half a step. The Cardinals held on to get Hargrave (2-5) the win and hand Amherst a 3-1 conference loss.

Wesleyan wasted no time in game two, racking up four runs in the top of the first after Molly Gaebe belted a three-run homer and Joanna Brownson drove in Molly O’Connell with a single. Amherst got one run back in their half of the first when Neill drove in sophomore Lindsey Harrington (Westford, MA) to put the Jeffs on the board. First-year Jackie Tyler (Ridgewood, NJ) made it 4-2 when her sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second plated fellow first-year Anne Kelly (Littleton, CO).

Amherst rallied for four runs in the third, chasing Dendy from the game to bring Hargrave back to the mound in relief. Sophomore Emily Bularzik (Braintree, MA) and senior co-captain Annalise Rodli (La Canada, CA) each had RBI singles in the inning, while Tyler and Harrington each walked with the bases loaded to pick up RBIs, giving the Jeffs a 6-4 lead.

Annalise Rodli '07
Senior co-captain Annalise Rodli went 5-for-9 with a pair of RBIs to lead Amherst on the day

The Cardinals responded in the fourth by loading the bases with no outs, bringing Miller back into the game in relief for sophomore Maddie Tamagni (Salinas, CA). Miller could not stop the bleeding like she did in game one, as Wesleyan was able to score three runs to take a 7-6 lead. The Jeffs tied the game at 7-7 in the bottom half of the frame when sophomore Julia Cummings (Los Angeles, CA) drove in Shaw.

The slugfest continued in the fifth when senior tri-captain Dayna Yorks blasted a two-run homer to give her team a 9-7 lead, but Amherst came right back with a pair of runs after Shaw and Bularzik each picked up two-out RBI doubles to tie the score at 9-9.

A Brownson double in the top of the sixth put runners at second and third with two outs, bringing Chang-Graham in for relief. The first-year stepped up and got Yorks to ground out to first base, ending Wesleyan’s threat.

Cummings led off the bottom of the sixth with a double through the right side and Tyler moved her to third with a single, eventually stealing second to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. Rodli grounded out to second base, but it was enough to bring Cummings home for the go-ahead run. The Jeffs may have been able to do more damage, but a costly base-running miscue allowed the Cardinals to end the inning with an unassisted double play.

Wesleyan took advantage of Amherst’s miscue by scoring two runs in the seventh and holding the Jeffs scoreless in the final frame, despite allowing another Neckes leadoff double and eventual first-and-third situation, as the Cardinals escaped with a key 11-10 victory. The seventh inning was the only inning Amherst failed to score a run in the game.

Dendy, Gaebe, Yorks and Brownson each had multiple hits in game two, with Gaebe leading the onslaught with two hits, six RBIs and a run scored while picking up the win on the mound to move to 5-3 on the season.

Neckes, Neill and Shaw each went 2-for-5 in the second game, while Rodli was 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs and Bularzik was a perfect 4-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs. Cummings also had three hits in the nightcap, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Amherst out-hit Wesleyan 20-11 in game two, but made five errors in the field

Dendy was just as impressive in game one, going 3-for-3 with a pair of runs and a walk, while Whitehead went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Tyler, Rodli and Neckes each had a pair of hits to lead Amherst in game one.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Monday for a game with Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Game time is set for 4:30 at WPI.