Softball Sweeps MIT

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. --- UMass Boston (10-7) accomplished a first on New England soil Tuesday, as they swept host MIT (3-12) 6-1 and 9-6 at Briggs Field to earn their first sweep and first 3-game winning streak since the first two days of the season.

Junior Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.), sophomore Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and freshmen Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) sparked the Beacons offense with 14 combined hits. Killilea finished the day 4-for-7 with four RBIS and a run scored including two triples. While Bouyea added five hits in eight at bats with a team-high three runs scored and  Hemstock went 5-for-8 with four RBIS and two runs scored as the team's designated hitter.

In the first game, freshmen catcher Amanda Perry (Worcester, Mass.) had the key hit. She crushed her team-leading sixth home run of the season with Maria Nasta (Andover, Mass.) aboard to put the Engineers away. Perry added another hit, as she and Bouyea were the lone Beacons to record two hits in the opener.

Head coach Natalia Ardagna switched up her rotation and started freshmen Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) in the first game with great results. Zullo (6-2) earned her fourth consecutive victory with one earned run over seven innings. She also struck out a career-high seven batters, while allowing nine hits and no walks.

The Beacons jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Killilea hit the first of her two triples on the day. With one out and Bouyea on second, Killilea crushed the ball to right field to easily score Bouyea, but Killilea would be left stranded.

MIT quickly answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning, but it would prove to be the last run they would score in the opener.

UMass Boston failed to scratch across a run in the next two frames, but managed to put together two big innings to finish the game.

To begin the sixth, Perry walked and Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.) pinch ran for her. After Perra took second on a wild pitch and stole third on ball four to put Beacons on first and third with no outs, the Beacons speed gave them the lead. Lisa Polsonetti (Revere, Mass.) took off for second and forced the throw to second, the MIT second basemen then threw the ball away allowing Perra to score the winning run. Hemstock proceeded to knock Polsonetti in with a sacrifice fly and the Beacons led 3-1 after six.  

The Beacons officially put away the Engineers in the seventh, when Nasta knocked in Bouyea with an RBI single in the infield and Perry followed with her second home run in two games.

In the second game, UMass Boston jumped out to an 8-4 lead and had to hang on against the host Engineers.

Bouyea and Killilea both chipped in with three hits apiece, while Hemstock went a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBIS and two runs for the Beacons. Leadoff hitter Jaci Goodwin (Melrose, Mass.) took advantage of the opportunity with a 2-for-5 game and two runs scored.

In the circle, senior pitcher Kara Willis (Burrillville, R.I.) earned her fourth win of the season. She allowed four runs and nine hits over the course of four innings while walking two. Zullo relieved her and allowed two earned runs over the final three innings to close out the game.

After a scoreless first, UMass Boston knotched a four-spot in the top of the second inning. Sophomore second baseman Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, Mass.) recorded her second RBI of the season with a single that scored Hemstock. And four batters later, Killilea tripled to center field to empty the bases and give UMass Boston a shortlived 4-0 lead.

MIT responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning behind five singles and an illegal pitch.

Vecchiet briefly extended the Beacons lead back to a two-run lead in the top of the third, when she singled to right field and Hemstock scored on an error, but the Engineers added a run of their own in the bottom half.

The fourth inning proved to be the deciding frame as Hemstock and Perry helped the Beacons take an 8-4 lead. After the Beacons opened the inning with three consecutive base runners, Perry knocked Goodwin in with a sacrifice fly and Hemstock allowed Nasta and Killilea to come home with an RBI single.

Hemstock padded the Beacons lead in the sixth with an RBI double to center field that scored Perry and gave the Beacons a 9-4 edge. Zullo nearly allowed the Engineers to get back into the game with some uncharacteristic wildness in the bottom half of the inning. After issuing three straight walks, Zullo managed to minimize the damage by only allowing two runs in the frame.

The Engineers managed just one hit in the seventh inning as MIT dropped to 1-3 at home this season.

UMass Boston will be back in action on Thursday when they host Suffolk University in a nonconference contest at 5 p.m.