Softball's Late Rallies Fall Just Short In Doubleheader Sweep At Brandeis

WALTHAM, Mass.—Despite a pair of late rallies and a season-high two home runs, UMass Boston (5-15) couldn't overcome host Brandeis University (11-8) in a non-conference doubleheader sweep at Marcus Field.

Sam Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) crushed a three-run home run in Game One and Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) added a two-run blast in the nightcap but it wouldn't be enough, as UMB fell 6-4 and 5-3 to the host Judges.

Hemstock finished the day 2-for-6 with a run and three RBI, while Killilea tied with Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) for the team-high in hits, going 3-for-7 with a run and two RBI. 

Game One: Brandeis University 6, UMass Boston 4

Brandeis jumped out to a 6-0 lead after four innings and sophomore Nikki Cote closed the door on the Beacons comeback, earning her second save with 2.2 scoreless innings.

Four Beacons recorded two hits in the contest, as Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) and Kelsey Souza (Braintree, Mass.) joined Hemstock and Scola with two hits apiece. Vecchiet finished with UMB's final RBI of the contest and added a run as well. 

Amanada Genovese did a terrific job at the top of the order for Brandeis, finishing the game 3-for-3 with three runs scored.

Casey Ducinski picked up her sixth victory of the season (6-4) by making it through 4.1, allowing eight hits and four earned. Cote got the saves for the Judges, by working through 2.2 innings and allowing just three hits and striking out one.

Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) fell to 2-8 on the year by allowing six earned runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings. Emily Gray came in in relief and kept it close, allowing two hits and one walk in 2.1 scoreless innings.

The Judges grabbed a 1-0 lead after one inning of play, when Cori Coleman cracked a two-out single to score Genovese.

Brandeis made it 4-0 an inning later, when five out of the first six Judges reached base against Zullo. Melissa Nolan led off the inning with a home run and Ducinski made it 3-0 with a two-out RBI single. Danielle Novotny pushed the lead to 4-0 with a double to center to score Ducinski.

After a scoreless third, Brandeis tacked on two more runs in the fourth to chase Zullo. Leah McWilliams recorded the second Judges homer of the day to lead off the inning and Novotny picked up her second RBI double in three innings, to make it 6-0 Brandeis. 

UMass Boston got on the board in a big way in the top half of the fifth inning, with a four-run rally that forced Brandies coach Jess Johnson to go her bullpen. 

With runners on second and third with one out, Vecchiet singled to score Souza and cut the deficit to 6-1. Hemstock followed with a three-run dinger to make it 4-0, as Taryn Asta (Marshfield, Mass.) and Vecchiet trotted home in front of her. That would do it for Duckinski, as Cote retired three out of the next four batters, allowing just a two-out double to Scola.

While Gray successfully kept the Judges quiet in the bottom of the fifth and sixth, UMB's offense could get nothing going against Cote. Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) singled to lead off the sixth but was stranded at second base and Vecchiet's leadoff double was wasted in the seventh, when the Judges turned a double play with no outs.

With the win, Johnson picked up her 200th career victory. 

Game Two: Brandeis University 5, UMass Boston 3

Game two would be more of the same story, as Brandeis jumped out to a 5-0 run and held off the Beacons to extend UMB's losing streak to eight straight.

Killilea would be one of the few bright spots offensively for the Beacons, as she finished 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI. Sophomore Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Mass.) reached base twice as well and added UMB's final RBI.

Junior starter Melissa Nolan evened up her record at 2-2 by twirling a complete-game six-hitter. Nolan allowed three runs, two earned and struck out five Beacons.

Gray took the loss for UMB, allowing five runs (three earned) in six innings of work.

Brandeis jumped out to another multi-run lead in the first inning, thanks to one of three UMB errors in the contest.

Genovese reached on an error, stole second and took third on a groundout, before scampering home on Coleman's RBI double to right field. Nolan helped herself with an RBI single to right to score Coleman, before Gray worked herself out of a first and second, one-out jam.

Coleman picked up her fourth RBI of the day in the second inning, when she recorded a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0 Judges. Brandeis capped off their scoring in the third, with an RBI double from McWilliams and another UMass Boston run-causing error.

After just two hits through the first five innings against Nolan, UMB got on the board in the top of the sixth thanks to Killilea. Asta reached on an error with one out and was replaced by pinch-runner Haley Dutton (Milton, Mass.). Dutton proceeded to steal her first career base, before crossing the plate with her first career run on a two-run blast from Killilea, that made it 5-2 Brandeis.

The Beacons threatened in the seventh inning by putting the tying run in scoring position, before another double play ended their comeback chances.

Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.) led off the inning with a leadoff single and came in to score after two more singles from Scola and Svenson. After a fielder's choice wiped out Scola, a wild pitch put Svenson at third and Capra at second with one out. But just pitches later, Souza struck out swinging and was thrown out at first base, after the ball got away from the catcher, and Svenson was caught trying to swipe home to end the game.

UMass Boston will look to get back in the win column Saturday, when they host Western Connecticut State University for a Little East Conference doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.