Softball Sweeps Wesleyan, 5-0 & 6-5|
AMHERST, Mass. - Junior pitcher Lauren Peloquin (Berkley, MA) tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout in the opener, and the Amherst College softball team rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to take the nightcap, as the Jeffs swept Wesleyan University in a NESCAC-West Division doubleheader on Thursday. Peloquin also picked up the victory in the nightcap in relief of Amherst starter Emily Melia (Hingham, MA), but Melia played the offensive hero, connecting for a game-winning sacrifice fly to score senior co-captain Meg Nelson (Middletown, CT), whose RBI triple three batters earlier had plated Missy Mordy (Issaquah, WA) to tie the game at five.
|Junior hurler Lauren Peloquin|
picked up a pair of wins,
including a complete-game
four-hit shutout in the opener
Peloquin, who brought an already-anemic earned run average of 0.37 into the doubleheader, cruised through the opener, allowing no more than one baserunner in any inning. The junior fanned 11 Cardinal batters and walked only one en route to her 13th win of the season. Offensively, the Jeffs provided Peloquin with all the cushion she would need, scoring four times in the first three innings. Each of Amherst's first two runs scored on wild pitches by Cardinal hurler Lindsay Wasserman (Branford, CT), before first-year first baseman Gina Scribner (Star, ID) connected for a two-run single back through the box to give the Jeffs a 4-0 lead through three. The Jeffs added a run in the fourth off Wesleyan reliever Rachel Miller (New York, NY) on an RBI single from senior co-captain Carline Kelly (S. Dartmouth, MA), which was more than enough run support for Peloquin.
In the nightcap, it looked like the Jeffs were in good shape for a doubleheader sweep, after plating three runs with only one out in the first. After a Kelly single and a ground-out from Mordy, Nelson connected for an RBI double, Scribner singled, Peloquin singled to score Nelson, and Melia singled to score Scribner. The four consecutive hits chased Miller, and with two on and one out, Wasserman came in and induced an inning-ending double-play to get out of the jam.
The three runs looked to be all that Melia would need through four innings, however, as the sophomore allowed only an unearned run in the second inning over the first four frames. Amherst added another run in the third on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Erin Dittus (Brentwood, TN), and the Jeffs seemed to be in control. In the fifth inning, though, the Wesleyan bats came to life. A pair of singles and a hit-batsman loaded the bases with nobody out for Cardinal senior Becca DeWeerdt (Vienna, VA), who smacked a two-run double into left-center to cut the Amherst lead to 4-3. Three batters later, Wasserman connected for a two-out, two-run double to center field that evaded Dittus, giving the Cardinals their first lead of the afternoon.
One inning later, with Peloquin on in place of Melia, the Cardinals seemed poised to break the game open, with the bases loaded and one out for DeWeerdt. Peloquin, who struck out Rose Ferrari (S. Deerfield, MA) swinging for the first out, came back to get DeWeerdt swinging at a 1-2 changeup, before Cardinal catcher Lindsay Butler (Salinas, CA) looked at a strike-three fastball to end the threat.
The Jeffs, though, couldn't take advantage, with Wasserman retiring nine straight Amherst hitters between the third and sixth innings. That streak finally ended on a two-out bunt single from Amherst senior Shari Sakamoto (Pasadena, CA) in the sixth, but she was stranded, and, after Wesleyan went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, the stage was set for Amherst's heroics.
After Mordy reached on a bunt single to lead-off the home seventh, Nelson hit a ball that DeWeerdt misjudged, at first breaking towards home before watching it sail over her head. By the time the Wesleyan left-fielder recovered, Mordy had scored to tie the game and Nelson, the winning run, was standing on third. Wasserman then intentionally walked Scribner and Peloquin to get to Melia, who lofted a fly ball to right-center that was deep enough to score Nelson without a play.
With the doubleheader sweep, the Jeffs improve to 19-7, 6-0 in West Division play. They also lock up a spot in next weekend's inaugural NESCAC softball championship, eliminating Wesleyan in the process. The top two teams from each division advance to the four-team playoff, and the Jeffs are currently tied for first place in the West with arch-rival Williams College. The Jeffs and Ephs will hope to resolve the tie on Saturday, when they face off in Williamstown in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.
Peloquin, who picked up the win in both ends of the doubleheader, improves to 14-1 on the year, lowering her ERA to 0.34 in the process. Wasserman took the loss in both games for Wesleyan, who is next in action on Saturday at Kings Point, and she falls to 8-14 on the season.
Game One Box Score and Play-by-Play
Game Two Box Score and Play-by-Play