Worcester, MA --- Ali LaRue (South Glens Falls, NY) had a two-run double and Erin Flaherty (Stoughton, MA) tallied nine strikeouts as WPI captured game two 5-2 to split its doubleheader against Wheaton in NEWMAC softball action on Friday. Visiting Wheaton took the opener 3-0.
WPI is now 20-12 with a 7-5 conference mark while the Lyons even their record at 16-16 with an 8-4 record in the NEWMAC standings.
The Engineers exploded in the first inning of the nightcap, pounding out three runs. Nicole McDonough (Abington, MA) got the scoring started when she hit an RBI single to left-center, scoring Juliana Fekete (Belgrade, ME). Three batters later, LaRue crushed a 2 RBI double to right-center field, scoring McDonough and Katie Bumila (Raynham, MA) and putting the Crimson and Gray up 3-0.
WPI would add another run in the bottom of the second, when back-to-back errors by the Lyons allowed Fekete to get on base and then score from second.
Wheaton responded in the top of the third when Megan Roy (North Dighton, MA) hit an RBI single down the left field line to score Amanda Drury (Tolland, CT). Two batters later, Emily Berardi (Boston, MA) singled to center field to plate Ashley Brillon (Attleboro, MA), cutting the lead to 4-2. But the Engineers picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Allie Roche (Chelmsford, MA) slapped an RBI single up the middle to drive in LaRue, and that was all the offense the Crimson and Gray needed as Flaherty allowed only two runs in another gem of a performance.
Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, MA) pitched five innings in relief for Wheaton, allowing two hits and two runs. Lyons Valerie Tratner (Forest Hills, NY) and Emily Berardi (Boston, MA) joined WPI's Bumila as repeat hitters in the nightcap.
In the opener, Wheaton wasted no time getting on the board, as leadoff hitter Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, MA) smashed the ball over the left field fence on the third pitch of the game, as the Lyons took a 1-0 lead. Three batters later, the visitors capitalized on an error by the home team as Christmas scored an unearned run from third.
In the top of the third, the Lyons scored again when Rocha scored from third on a wild pitch following a strikeout, and Wheaton would take a 3-0 lead. Allison Baker (Orange, CT) was a dominating force on the mound, scattering three Engineer hits over seven innings while tallying five strikeouts. Baker went through the entire WPI lineup once without allowing a base-runner, finally surrendering a hit to Fekete in the top of the fourth. Rocha notched three of the Lyons five hits in the opener.
For WPI, Allie Hardy (West Townsend, MA) had a solid outing in the circle, striking out six while giving up two earned runs and five hits. Fekete, Erin Beaulieu (Bethany, CT) and Lauren DiFelice (Acushnet, MA) each recorded hits for the hosts in game one
Up next for WPI, the Engineers travel to Smith on Saturday for another conference doubleheader. Wheaton will head to Wellesley next Friday for a pair of league games
Story by Mike Rupp - WPI Athletics