Softball steals 3 from Cardinals

Softball (9-11, 3-3 in the NESCAC) ripped off a series sweep of Wesleyan last weekend, defeating the Cardinals 10-1 and 9-5 in a doubleheader on Saturday at home after crushing them 18-4 Friday in Middletown.

Megan Casey '13 improved her record to 3-5 with a win over Wesleyan on Saturday. CALEB BAER/PHTO EDITOR

The victories came after a disappointing sweep at the hands of archrival Amherst the previous weekend and a spring break that saw Williams go 6-8 in Clermont, Fla.

Saturday’s afternoon contest was a tight affair, but Williams still walked away with a convincing 9-5 win. After the teams traded two runs apiece in the first inning, the Ephs took a 6-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth with a five-hit inning. The sixth inning saw the Cardinals score another run, but the Ephs responded with three of their own behind an RBI from Ally Ensor ’14 and two RBIs from Ali Graebner ’14. Heading into the seventh, Williams carried a commanding 9-3 lead. It looked as though the Cardinals might rally in the final inning, as they put two runs on the board and had two on with two outs in the inning. However, Emma Harrington ’15 came on for the final out of the game and forced a pop-out to earn her first save of the season. Megan Casey ’13 earned the win on the mound for the Ephs, improving her record to 3-5 on the year.

In Saturday’s evening contest at home against Wesleyan,  the women rode their momentum from wins in the previous two games against Wesleyan to a 10-1 victory in five innings. The Ephs decided the game in the first inning: After the Cardinals scored a run off Harrington in the top of the first, the women responded with five runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Harrington took control of the remainder of the game, keeping Wesleyan off the board and allowing only three hits in the remaining four innings. The Ephs tallied four runs in the bottom of the second to take a 9-1 lead before adding another run in the third to cap off the scoring for the day. Harrington earned the win, improving her record to 6-3 on the season.

On Friday, the women dominated their Little Three opponents on the Cardinals’ home turf recording an 18-4 win. With Harrington on the mound, Williams jumped out to a 12-1 lead after the third inning, ripping off a four-run first inning, a five-run second inning and a three-run third inning while allowing just one Wesleyan runner to cross home plate. After Wesleyan managed another run in the bottom of the fourth, the women tacked on six more in the top of the fifth, ultimately earning an 18-4 win. Graebner nearly hit for the cycle in the game, going 3-3 with a double, a triple and six RBIs.

Graebner was named NESCAC Player of the Week for her efforts against the Cardinals. She hit .667 for the weekend and knocked in a total of 11 runs in the three contests.

On March 30 and April 1, the women battled Amherst in the women’s first NESCAC series of the season. In the doubleheader on April 1, Amherst defeated Williams 6-1 in the first game. The Ephs came close to knocking off the Jeffs in the evening game after entering the seventh inning with a 6-3 lead. However, an Amherst rally in the bottom of the inning foiled the women’s efforts, and the Jeffs took a 7-6 win. The Jeffs also claimed the first game of the series in Williamstown on March 30 by a 5-2 margin.

Prior to their series against their Little Three rivals, the Ephs traveled to Clermont, Fla., for spring break. The trip saw the Ephs start slow: The women went 3-7 during their first week in Florida. However, Williams closed out strong, claiming three wins in its final four games, including a 4-2 win over DePauw on March 27 and a 3-2 victory over MIT on March 26.

The women will next play a doubleheader against Springfield tonight at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Williams will then travel to Western New England for a doubleheader on Thursday, with games at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., before again hitting the road for a Sunday doubleheader at Keene State. Games will begin at noon and 2 p.m. Finally, the women will return home for a doubleheader at RPI on Tuesday night at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Assistant Coach Caitlyn Cain ’11 was especially proud of her team’s performance last weekend. “The team really came together this past weekend in a way we haven’t seen this season,” she said.