CLERMONT, Fla.—UMass Boston softball was dealt a pair of setbacks on Opening Day at Hancock Park.
Elizabethtown 3, UMass Boston 0
Suffolk 10, UMass Boston 1 (5 innings)
(UMass Boston 0-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Beacons were limited to just four hits on the morning, as they struggled out of the gates to start their 2018 season.
Junior Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) finished with the Beacons' lone extra-base hit and only RBI of the day. Sophomore pitcher Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) threw 6.2 innings, and allowed three runs for UMass Boston.
GAME ONE RECAP
Elizabethtown second baseman Emma Varrato slugged a three-run homer over the left-field fence in the third inning to provide all the runs in the opener.
Varrato's home run was more than enough to back sophomore left-hander Alyssa Wilkinson. Wilkinson allowed one hit in the shutout win and struck out a career-high nine batters to move to 5-0 on the season.
Vento recorded the Beacons' lone hit of the contest, as she ripped a two-out double in the top of the fourth. Sophomore Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) was the only other Beacon to reach, as she hit two hard grounders that were bobbled by fielders and resulted in Bilotta reaching first base.
Greenspan took the loss in game one, after allowing eight hits and three earned runs.
The Blue Jays put runners on in the first and second innings, but Greenspan was able to strand both runners on base.
In the bottom of the third, Elizabethtown broke the scoreless tie. Kirstin Blass singled with one out and Wendy Header followed with a single. After both runners moved up to second and third, Varrato hit her fourth homer of the year to make it 3-0.
The Blue Jays put base runners on in each of the next three innings, but Greenspan again was able to keep the visitors at bay.
UMass Boston put runners on second in the fourth and fifth innings, but Wilkinson ended the fourth with a strikeout and induced a groundout to get out of the fifth.
GAME TWO RECAP
Suffolk struck for four runs in the top of the first and four more in the fifth to run past UMass Boston 10-1.
Delaney Sylvester and Ashely Zulla combined to go 5-5 with five runs and four RBI for the Rams.
The Beacons' three pitchers also struggled with their control in the loss, as the Rams finished with more walks (eight) than hits (seven).
Sophomore Megan Hoben (Bedford, Mass.) took the loss after getting the start and going the first three innings. Freshman Drew Washington (Bordentown, N.J.) made her collegiate debut in relief and Greenspan came on to close out the fifth inning.
On the other side, Payton Sylvester earned her first win of the season by going five innings and allowing three hits and one unearned run.
After getting the first two outs of the top of first, UMass Boston struggled to record the final out. The Rams drew a pair of walks, and then the Rams recorded three-straight hits to push the advantage to 4-0.
The Rams tacked on two more runs in the third inning, thanks to back-to-back doubles from D. Sylvester and Zulla.
UMass Boston recorded their first run of the season in the bottom of the fourth. Prusmack led off with a bunt single and moved to third base, when Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) put down a sacrifice bunt and the first baseman couldn't handle the throw. With runners at the corners and no outs, Vento grounded a ball deep into the hole, but the second baseman ranged to her left to get the out at first.
With two down and a runner on second, Bilotta ripped a single to right but the Rams got the ball into the infield before the Beacons' could add a second run.
Things came undone for the Beacons in the fifth. UMass Boston pitchers issued five walks and hit a batter, as the Rams sent 10 batters to the plate. With the bases loaded and one out, three-straight Suffolk batters drew bases loaded walks.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Freshmen Tori Dicenso (Lynn, Mass.), Cassidy Gaeta (North Reading, Mass.) and Kelly Danahy (Kingston, Mass.) all made their collegiate debuts against Elizabethtown College.
- Saturday's game marked the first-ever meeting between UMass Boston and Elizabethtown. The Beacons fell to 14-7 all-time against Suffolk.
- The Beacons did not record an error in game number two.
UMass Boston will look to bounce back on Sunday, when they take on New England foes Gordon College (Noon) and Becker College (4:30 p.m.).