April 25, 2013

Zullo Pitches Softball To Doubleheader Split with Salem State

BOSTON, Mass.—Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) scattered seven hits over seven innings to earn her fifth career shutout in game two to lift UMass Boston (14-23) to a doubleheader split with Salem State University (19-13) Thursday afternoon at the UMass Boston Softball Field.

Salem State grabbed a 6-2 victory in the first contest, before the Beacons won the nightcap 4-0.

Zullo struck out six hitters and stranded six more Vikings, to earn her team-leading second shutout of the year and seventh win of the season. With her fifth career shutout, the sophomore right-hander moved into a tie with Andrea Spinale ('03) for second place all-time in program history, behind Emily Wolf ('11) who finished with six.

Sophomores Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) and Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) each added a pair of hits and an RBI for UMB, who evened up their home record at 7-7.

Game One: Salem State 6, UMass Boston 2

Junior pitcher Brittney Howe pitched the Vikings past UMass Boston in game one by allowing just six hits and two runs in seven innings of work. 

Leadoff hitter Lauren Garchinsky led the Vikings offensively with two hits and two RBI, while Cara Crowley and Stephanie Schieni each finished with multiple hits and two runs scored. 

For UMass Boston, Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) picked up two hits in four trips to the plate, while Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) and Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) each picked up an RBI. 

Freshman Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.) took the loss for UMB, allowing 11 hits and three earned runs in seven innings. 

Salem State leaped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second behind two hits and a Beacons error. Schieni laced an RBI double to left field to score Crowley with one out and came in to score on an RBI single from Rebecca Krigman.

The Vikings tacked on an additional two runs in the top of the fourth behind four hits in the inning. Schieni once again sparked the Vikings, with an RBI single and moved over to third base on back-to-back bunt singles with no outs. Salem State pushed the lead to 4-0 when Garchinski lined a single to center field that easily scored the two lead runners.

UMass Boston got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Howe walked Souza and Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) with one out, before Capra sent a hard single up the middle to score Souza and cut the deficit to 4-1.

 Salem State responded with three runs of their own in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach, as they took advantage of three UMB errors in the inning.

The Beacons capped off the scoring in the bottom of the seventh, when Hemstock sent a fly ball to right field that easily scored a tagging Bove from third base, but turned into a game-ending double play when Taryn Asta (Marshfield, Mass.) tried to tag from first to second and was thrown out sliding into the second-base bag. 

Game Two: UMass Boston 4, Salem State 0

Zullo would prove to be the story of game two, as she shut down the reigning MASCAC Champions at the plate and the Beacons offense mustered enough offense to back her.

The Beacons produced four runs on just five hits against starter Sarra Bergeron and Howe, as the two Vikings pitchers issued five walks over six innings of work.

Souza led the Beacons offensively going 1-for-2 with two runs scored, while Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Bove each recorded a base hit and a run.

Garchinsky led Salem State with two hits in two at-bats, before being pulled in the bottom of the fourth inning. Vikings coach Leanne Doviak rested several of her starters in both games, electing to give her players rest before Saturday's season finale and the upcoming MASCAC Tournament. 

The Beacons struck for two runs in the bottom of the second against Bergeron to take their first lead of the day. Bove reached first base with one out on one of her three walks on the day and moved over to second base on a single up the middle from Bouyea. With two on and one out, Svenson laced a single into the right field corner to easily score Bove and put Bouyea at third base. Two batters later, Bouyea came in to score on a wild pitch from Bergeron that went all the way to the backstop.

UMass Boston tacked on a third run in the fourth inning, when Howe walked the first two batters she faced, only to have Souza come home to score on a two-base error by the Vikings second baseman.

Bove put the game out of reach for the Vikings in the fourth inning, when she ripped a two-out double to right center field that easily scored Souza from second base.

Zullo would cruise from there, retiring seven of the final eight batters she faced, including an inning-ending strikeout of Jenn Toussaint with two runners on in the fifth.

UMass Boston will finish off regular-season play Saturday when they host Rhode Island College for a Senior Day doubleheader at the UMB Softball Field at 1 p.m. With one UMB victory, or one UMass Dartmouth loss against the University of Southern Maine, the Beacons can clinch a spot in the Little East Conference Tournament. Salem State will return home to take on Fitchburg State University for their Senior Day doubleheader.