Softball throttles Hamilton

Softball (14-18-1, 7-2 in the NESCAC) swept Hamilton on the road this weekend to vault into first place in the NESCAC West. The Ephs dominated the series, only giving up three runs on the weekend while scoring 22 runs to win all three games. The weekend’s games followed a split doubleheader against Tufts Wednesday night and a win and a tie against RPI last Tuesday.

Williams came into Saturday’s doubleheader against Hamilton up 1-0 on the series after a win Friday night. Mary Beth Daub ’11 only allowed two runs on seven hits in the game, while the Eph offense plated six runs behind the bats of rookies Emily Levy ’13 and Cedar Blazek ’13. In the first inning, after a leadoff triple by Levy and an RBI single by Allison Hart ’12, Blazek drove Hart in with a double to give the women a 2-0 lead. The score held until the bottom of the fourth, when Hamilton scored after a Williams error to bring the score to 2-1. The Ephs answered by scoring two runs in the top of the fifth, reopening the lead to 4-1 after Daub knocked in Levy before Caitlyn Cain ’11 hit a double that allowed Blazek to cross the plate. One more Hamilton run in the sixth brought the score to 4-2, but the women quickly put the game away, scoring two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning before Daub shut the Cardinals out to give the Ephs a 6-2 win.

Blazek set the tone for the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. After an RBI double by Daub, Blazek blasted a two-run homerun to put the Ephs up 3-0. The homerun was Blazek’s eighth of the season, giving her the Williams single-season home run record with five games left in the season. Blazek was named NESCAC Player of the Week for the second week running following the week. The women continued their offensive charge throughout the rest of the game, bringing the final score to 8-0. Megan Casey ’13 pitched a four-hit game shut out for the series sweep.
Friday’s game gave the weekend a good start: Williams led 2-1 by the end of the women’s third at bat. When Hamilton loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, Daub stepped in to relieve starting pitcher Casey and strike out the first batter. Merrilee Weston ’13 then threw out a runner at home before Daub pitched one more strikeout to avoid the danger and close out the third inning still up 2-1. The Ephs carried the game from then on: Daub did not give up another run, only allowing three hits while striking out four batters in the next four innings. The Ephs scored three runs each in the sixth and seventh innings to finish the series opener with an 8-1 victory.

Head Coach Kris Herman was complimentary of the team’s pitching on the weekend. “Mary Beth [Daub] stepped up and pitched great in game one when Megan [Casey] was not having a great day,” she said. “We got good pitching from both kids on Saturday and the timely hitting continued.”

The women split a doubleheader against Tufts on Thursday, winning the first game 3-0 before falling 12-3 in the second matchup of the night. Casey dominated Tufts in the opener, throwing a two-hit shutout. Williams did most of its damage in the first inning, in which Blazek ripped a ball into left center to drive in captain Jess Cross ’10 and Hart to put the women up 2-0. Oriana McGee ’12 knocked Levy in to bring the score to 3-0 in the fourth inning, and Casey did the rest to close out the game with the same score. The second game saw the Ephs struggle offensively and defensively, falling 12-3 despite an impressive Levy RBI triple in the third inning.

“That’s our Jekyll and Hyde act,” Herman said of the split. “We just didn’t get the same defense we had in game one, Our pitching couldn’t make up for those mistakes and out bats couldn’t bail us out that time.” The Ephs have dropped the second game of a doubleheader after a win four times this season.

Williams hosted RPI last Tuesday, claiming the first game of the doubleheader 6-1 before ending the six-inning second game tied at 12-12 due to darkness. Blazek, Weston and Casey led the team to the win in the first game, with Weston and Blazek getting two hits each while Casey shut down the Engineers from the mound. Despite an early 7-0 lead in the first inning of the second game, an RPI rally chipped away at the team’s lead until the Engineers pulled ahead 8-7 in the fourth inning. The teams traded runs through the remaining two innings to end at 12-12.

The women will travel to Skidmore tonight for a doubleheader before kicking off a series against Amherst at 5 p.m. at home on Friday. The Ephs will then load up the bus to travel to the Jeffs’ field for a doubleheader on Saturday to round out the three-game series and the regular season.

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