SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—Amherst College struck for a combined eight runs in the second and third inning to earn an 11-2, five-inning victory over UMass Boston softball in the NCAA Tournament First Round.
Amherst College 11, UMass Boston 2
(UMass Boston 28-12)
(Amherst College 29-10)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After falling behind 9-0 through the first three innings, softball began to mount a comeback in their NCAA Tournament debut.
The Beacons scored two runs in the fourth and recorded all four of their hits in the fourth and fifth, but it wouldn't be enough.
Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) paced the offensive attack with her third home run of the season. The sophomore blasted a home run well over the center-field fence for her program-record 40th RBI of the season.
Freshman Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) ripped a double to lead off the fourth and then came into score the Beacons' first run of the day. Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) and Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) added the other two hits for the Beacons.
Amherst second baseman Sammy Salustri paced the Mammoths offense with two hits, two runs and a team-high four RBI. Kate Kopatic and Annie Apffel each added two RBI apiece, while Julia Turner scored a team-best three runs.
Gina Pagan earned the win for the home team, by allowing just one walk and striking out four in three scoreless innings. The Beacons recorded all four of their hits and both of their runs off reliever Jackie Buechler.
Amherst opened the scoring in the bottom of the first. With two outs and no one on, Kyra Naftel and Kopatic hit back-to-back doubles to give Amherst a 1-0 lead.
The Mammoths tacked on five more runs in the second on four hits. With the bases loaded and one out, Lauren Tuiskula recorded an RBI single and Salustri followed with a bases-clearing triple. Kopatic added a two-out RBI single to push the lead to 6-0.
UMass Boston got the offense going in the top of the fourth. Prusmack opened the inning with a standup double. She advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher and easily scored on a Kaitlyn "KMO" Morse (Arlington, Mass.) RBI groundout. Vento followed with her sixth career home run, a blast to straight-away center.
The Beacons put two runners in scoring position in the fifth with two outs, but Buechler induced a groundout back to the pitcher.
Amherst put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners on and two outs, Apffel blooped a seeing-eye single up the middle that scored both runners and made it a nine-run lead in the fifth.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Morse set the program record for games played in Friday's contest. She has played in 148 games over four seasons.
- Amherst improved to 4-0 all-time against UMass Boston. Today was the first meeting between the two schools since March 19, 2015.
- Vento sits one hit shy of tying Sue Kililea's ('13) record for hits in a single-season (57). She sits second in program history for a single-season in hits (56) and total bases (83) and has already set the program mark for doubles (18) and RBI (40).
- Morse moved into a tie for second place for at-bats in a single-season with 132. She needs six more to tie Taryn Asta ('13) who had 138 at-bats in 2013.
- Amherst scored 11 runs on 12 hits and struck out one time.
UMass Boston will take on host Springfield College on Saturday at 11 a.m. in a elimination game. Amherst will take on Salve Regina University at 9 a.m. in the winner's bracket, after Salve Regina defeated Springfield 7-4 in game one on Friday.