Softball splits pair at Hamilton

Softball (11-10) split a pair of games against Hamilton (4-8) on Sunday, losing the first by a score of 6-4 before posting a 6-2 victory in the nightcap. Earlier in the week, Williams managed a doubleheader sweep over Union (5-6-1) and fell 4-3 to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) (8-6) in an extra inning affair.

Kate DeLuca ’03 allowed five Continental batters to cross home plate in the fifth inning of the first game, and though the Ephs rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh inning, Karen Pogonowski struck out Karen McCloskey ’02 with two runners on and two out to end the game.

“Well we just kind of fell apart [in the fifth inning],” said DeLuca.

DeLuca cruised right along through the first four innings but allowed singles to Amanda Fix, Niki Dafoe, Krista Marran, Heather Hoffay and Erica Gomez in the fifth inning that netted the Continentals five runs.

In the seventh, Beth Mulligan ’05, Gisele Pinck ’02 and Courtney Hunter ’03 each collected run-scoring base-knocks, but it all proved to be too little too late for Williams, which could not overcome a five-run seventh inning deficit. In the top of the sixth inning, Mary Baccash ’05 hit a solo home to left-center field, the first home run of her collegiate career.

Katherine Baldwin ’03 picked up where she left off from Thursday’s complete game shutout victory over Union, allowing only two runs on three hits over six innings against Hamilton on Sunday. Mulligan pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the victory for the Ephs.

“After losing our the first game – which was particularly tough because it was our first league game, too – I knew I needed to come out right from the beginning and try and set the tone for the second game,” said Baldwin. “I knew I had to start right from the top and get the job done.

“Kate pitched really well in the first game and the defense sort of let her down a little bit I think; the defense in the second game was much more solid and that was definitely reassuring for me out there on the mound.”

Kristin Massimiano ’03 went 2-for-3 at the plate for Williams, scoring two runs and swiping two bags, while Pinck went 2-for-4 in the second game and scored two runs of her own.

“In the beginning our bats were kind of quiet,” Pinck said, “and then we had that one inning where we lost our composure defensively – we made errors of all varieties really, physical, communicative and mental – and they were able to score five runs.

“In the end, we managed to battle back a bit in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough – it provided a good shift in momentum, though, and that carried over into the second game.

“Basically, we knew it would be unacceptable to come home with two losses to Hamilton – we knew we had to take one. We didn’t score right away, but our bats were definitely hotter in the second game. By the time they were able to get on the board we were out to a comfortable lead and that helped us keep our composure better.”

On Thursday, the team pulled itself out from under the .500 mark with 3-1 and 2-0 victories over Union. DeLuca earned the victory in the first game, going seven innings and allowing only one run to score on Jill Ring’s third home run of the season. In the nightcap, Baldwin turned in a masterful performance, surrendering only three hits en route to a shutout victory.

In the first game, the Ephs put up a three spot in the fourth inning, sending nine players to the dish and scoring the three runs via three hits, two free-passes and an error.

Pinck smashed a clutch double with two women down to score the first two runs of the game for the Ephs, and Kerri McMahon ’05 knocked in the team’s final run with a single.

In the second game of the doubleheader, Baldwin took to the mound on only two days’ rest and was brilliant. The right-hander kept the Dutchwomen guessing throughout the game, and recorded four strikeouts against only one walk and three singles in the complete game shutout.

Courtney Gordon ’05 gave Baldwin all the runs she would need with a second inning RBI double, while McMahon plated an insurance run for the Ephs in the fourth with an RBI double of her own.

On Tuesday, RPI pulled off a 4-3 extra inning-victory over the Ephs following a three-run scoring spree in the top of the eighth inning in a chilly, overcast game played at Cole Field.

Laura Feeney laced a single into left-center with the bases loaded to plate two runs for RPI, and Stacy Eisenman knocked in what proved to be the game-winner in the inning.

Williams came back to notch two runs of its own in the bottom half of the extra frame, but the Ephwomen could not put the tying run on the board.

Engineer hurler Shannon Smith kept the Ephs’ bats in check all day, surrendering seven hits and three earned runs while picking up the W. Williams had its chances, however, particularly in the sixth inning after the team managed to even the score at one apiece.

The Ephs had runners at second and third with only one down, but a sharp grounder to first base off the bat of Courtney Gordon ’05 froze the runners in their tracks and Baldwin’s lazy fly ball to right field ended the Ephs’ best scoring threat of the game.

“We left a lot of runners on base all day long – we just didn’t get the job done,” said Fran Vandermeer, head coach of softball.

Baldwin started the game on the hill for the Ephs, and though she pitched in and out of trouble all day long she was effective through the first seven innings, allowing only one unearned run in the sixth inning.

By the eighth inning Baldwin seemed to have run out of gas, however, and left the game having allowed three runs to score in the inning while runners remained on second and third with nobody out.

Vandermeer called on Liz Gluck ’05 to get the Ephs out of the jam, and Gluck turned in a gutsy performance, shutting the Engineers down without allowing another run to score.

The Ephs kick off a three-doubleheader home stand on Wednesday with an afternoon-evening twofer against Springfield College scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at Cole Field.