Springfield, MA --- Freshman Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, MA) belted a three-run home run and sophomore Allison Baker (Orange, MA) twirled a shutout to help lift fifth-seeded Wheaton to a 6-0 victory over fourth-seeded WPI in a NEWMAC Tournament softball game played on Tuesday afternoon at Springfield College's Potter Field.
With the win, the Lyons (18-19) advance in the winner's bracket to face host and top seed Springfield at 4:30pm this afternoon. WPI (24-15) moves to the loser's bracket of the double elimination tournament and will face either Babson or Coast Guard on Saturday at noon back in Springfield.
Wheaton got the scoring started in the top of the first. Christmas lead off the game with a walk, stole second, moved to third on an error and came around on a bloop single by Megan Roy (North Dighton, MA). The Lyons broke open the game an inning later when Christmas' one-out bomb brought home Amanda Drury (Tolland, CT) and Amanda Poplaski (North Reading, MA), who had each singled.
The Lyons tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the third when Renee Laflam (Concord, NH) delivered an RBI two-bagger and Aimee Avila (North Dighton, MA) added a run-producing single.
Baker was masterful, scattering five hits and walking none en route to improving to 12-11 this spring. The right hander only allowed multiple runners to reach base twice on the day, including the fifth inning when Christmas thwarted the WPI threat by gunning down a runner at third base from right field.
Erin Flaherty (Stoughton, MA) absorbed the loss for WPI. The senior is now 11-5 this season after yielding five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. Classmate Allie Hardy (West Townsend, MA) hurled 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits while striking out two.
Laflam and Roy were the only repeat hitters on the day while Katie Bumila (Raynham, MA), Nicole McDonough (Abington, MA), Erin Beaulieu (Bethany, CT), Allie LaRue (South Glens Falls, NY) and Allie Roche (Chelmsford, MA) all tallied hits for the Engineers.