Springfield, MA --- Springfield split a doubleheader with visiting WPI in a battle among the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)'s top softball teams.
The Pride, which is currently ranked No. 24 according to the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Poll, came from behind to win the first game, 4-3, before the Engineers rallied in game two to defeat Springfield College, 8-4.
Facing a 3-0 deficit after four innings in the nightcap, WPI scored eight runs in the final three innings of game two to escape with an 8-4 victory over the Pride. Springfield had three student-athletes record at least two hits, including Loda, Gasdia and Padroff. Both Allie Wheeler (Agawam, MA) and Conley picked up RBI in the setback.
The Pride used three pitchers, as Nicole Cring (Cooperstown, NY) took the circle to start the game and highlighted the staff with five innings pitched, three hits allowed and three strikeouts. WPI's Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, NJ) earned her first win of the season in her second appearance in as many days.
Springfield picked up its first run of the game when Loda scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first, before the Pride picked up two more in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double that scored Padroff, before Conley came around to score on an error in left.
WPI got a pair back in the top of the fifth when Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) doubled to right, scoring Natalie Fabrizio (Hampstead. NH), before Katie Chagami (Waipahu, HI) singled to center, scoring Gurska to make it 3-2.
Wheeler doubled to left in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Drobiak from second to make it 4-2, Springfield College, but WPI would get two runs in the sixth and four in the seventh to seal the win. RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) began the scoring with an RBI single to second. Later in the sixth, Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) scampered home on a wild pitch. Two Engineers scored on an infield miscue put into play by May and two more crossed the dish courtesy of a Fabrizio single.
Junior infielder Kirsten Drobiak (Griswold, CT) picked up her third home run of the year and Talia Loda (East Haven, CT) improved to 9-0 in the circle as Springfield College picked up a 4-3 win in the first act of the twinbill.
Loda's final line included 7.0 innings pitched, as the junior only allowed four hits, one earned run and struck out four in the victory.
WPI got on the board first, as it picked up a run in the top of the first when Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) walked, before Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) grounded out to second later in the inning scoring Murphy-Cook from third base to give the Engineers a 1-0 advantage.
WPI tacked on two more in the top of the second when Fabrizio scored on a groundout from Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT), before Murphy-Cook beat out a grounder to third base, plating Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) to give the Engineers a 3-0 lead.
Drobiak evened the score with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the third, as she drilled her third home run of the season, a three-run shot over the left center fence to make it 3-3. Loda got things started with a single to left field, before Carianna Gasdia (Wakefield, MA) got hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Next up, Drobiak took a pitch deep over the left-center fence to tie things up.
The Pride picked up another run in the bottom of the sixth when Kayla Padroff (Southington, CT) reached on a single to center, before getting moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Alexyss Conley (Bloomingburg, NY). Next up, Jen Slane (Tolland, CT) pinch hit for Meghan Sastram (Oxford, CT), and came up with a huge single to left to score Padroff, giving the Pride a 4-3 lead.
Loda would go on to pick up the final three outs to seal the come-from-behind win for the Pride.
Up next, Springfield will travel to Western Connecticut on Wednesday for a doubleheader with the Colonials. First pitch is set for 4pm. WPI, meanwhile, is set to open Rooftop Field with a 3:30pm non-conference set with Fitchburg State, also on Wednesday.
Major Portions Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information