Capra leads Softball To Doubleheader Split With Bridgewater State

BRIDGEWATER, Mass.—In the first matchup between two former Bridgewater State University players turned coaches, UMass Boston (5-7) and Bridgewater State (4-6) split a pair in a doubleheader at Alumni Park.

In the Beacons home opener away from home, the Bears and interim head coach Alli LeBlanc got the better of UMB in Game One with a 7-2 victory. It was LeBlanc's first career victory as a head coach, after being named to the position on March 19.

Natalia Ardagna's squad got their revenge in the nightcap, as UMB stormed out to a 5-0 lead and never looked back in an 11-3, five-inning mercy-rule win.

GAME ONE: Bridgewater State 7, UMass Boston 2

Bridgewater State used a pair of extra-base hits and a Beacons error to score two runs each in the first three innings and cruised to a 7-2 win to help interim head coach Allie LeBlanc earn her first career victory.

While both teams would tally 10 hits in the contest, the Bears would have the better end of things, behind three extra-base hits and a strong performance from junior pitcher Amber White.

White struck out five over seven innings and allowed just two earned runs and one walk. Despite putting runners on base in six of her seven innings, she stranded eight Beacons on base and only gave up multiple base hits in the Beacons two-run fifth inning.

Jennifer Shaw and Emily Whitney provided all the offense White would need, as Shaw blasted a 2-run home in the first inning and Whitney made it 4-0 with a 2-run double in the second. Both players finished with two hits and two RBI in the contest.

Sophomore Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) and Kelsey Souza (Braintree, Mass.) led UMB with two hits apiece, while Hemstock and Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, Mass.) accounted for the Beacons' two RBI.

On the mound, Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) couldn't get over a slow start, allowing seven runs, four earned in seven innings of work. The sophomore struck out four to move over 100 strikeouts for her career.

After falling behind 6-0 through three innings, UMB finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) sparked the rally with a one-out double and advanced to third on a double from Souza. With two runners on and two outs, Hemstock singled to left field to score Souza. Vecchiet made it 6-2 with a single to center field that scored Taryn Asta (Marshfield, Mass.), who had reached on a fielders choice, but that would be all UMB could muster.

White allowed a lone single in both the sixth and the seventh and the Bears tacked on another unearned run in the seventh to earn the win.

Game Two: UMass Boston 11, Bridgewater State 3 (5 Innings)

Game Two would be a completely different story, as freshman Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.) shut the Bears down early, and UMB made the most of four extra-base hits and a pair of costly Bridgewater State errors to earn an 11 to 3 five-run, mercy-rule win.

UMass Boston jumped out to a 4-0 lead after one and tacked on four more runs in the fourth, to move back within two games of .500.

Gray earned the first two-game winning streak of her collegiate career, by allowing three runs, one earned in five innings of work. The freshman right-hander gave up seven hits and one walk to the Bears, while striking out a single Bridgewater batter.

Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) led the Beacons charge in Game Two, finishing 2-for-2 with a career-high three runs and her first career home run. She also added a double, a walk and a steal, to go along with two RBI.

Fellow junior Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.) added two hits and three RBI in game two, as UMB picked up their second mercy-rule victory of the year.

First baseman Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) was the final Beacon to finish with multiple hits, as the sophomore registered a pair of singles and two RBI.

UMass Boston took their first lead of the day with a four-run burst in the bottom of the first and never looked back.

Souza reach first on an error to start the inning and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Asta. After a double from Hemstock and a walk to Vecchiet that loaded the bases, Bouyea picked up her first hit of the day with a two-run double to left field. Bouyea and Vecchiet came home to score two batters later, when Svenson lifted a single into left field.

The Beacons made it 5-0 in the bottom of the second, when Capra came across to score on an Asta sacrifice fly.

Capra was back at it again in the bottom of the fourth, as she blasted her first career home run down the left-field line to make it 6-1 UMB. Bove followed up Capra's home run with her team-leading third triple of the season and scampered home on an RBI groundout from Souza. The Beacons capped off the four-run inning with a pair of RBI singles from Vecchiet and Bouyea to earn their largest lead of the night at 9-1.

Bridgewater State extended the game with a two-run, two-out double in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to 9-3, but their renewed life would be short-lived.

The Beacons closed out the mercy-rule win thanks to more theatrics from Capra. Svenson led off the inning with a single and came all the way around from first on Capra's double to left-center field. Two batters later, Capra put an exclamation point on her day-as she scurried home on a failed pickoff attempt, to give the Beacons an 11-3 victory.

UMass Boston will play their official on-campus home opener Friday afternoon, when they host Simmons College for a doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m.