Waltham, MA --- The WPI softball team split a pair of games Saturday in the four-team double elimination portion of the ECAC New England Championships. The top-seeded Engineers were upset 7-5 in the opener by fourth-seeded Salve Regina before rebounding to defeat the host and second-seeded Judges 7-4 in an elimination game.
To capture the title, the Engineers will have to win three games on Sunday at Brandeis. They will start by taking on Salve Regina at 11am with the winner having to knock off tournament-unbeaten Smith twice afterwards.
In the elimination game against the hosts, WPI picked up a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by senior catcher Juliana Fekete (Belgrade, ME) with two outs. In the top of the fourth, Brandeis tied it back up when rookie Madison Hunter (Parker, CO) ripped an RBI base hit up the middle to make it 1-1. In the bottom of the frame, the Engineers broke the game open. The WPI bats erupted for five runs on four hits. Junior 1B Katie Bumila (Raynham, MA) kicked off the rally with a two RBI double into right center while rookie 2B Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) capped it with an RBI double to center to give the Engineers a commanding 6-1 lead.
The Judges fought back in the top of the fifth. Following two quick outs, sophomore 2B Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, CA) got things started with a base knock through the right side. After a walk and another base hit, the bags were packed for junior catcher Cori Coleman (Burr Ridge, IL). Coleman delivered with a huge two RBI single up the middle as she closed the gap to 6-3. Junior rightfielder Anya Kamber (Sammamish, WA) tacked on another run for the Judges with a ground ball past a diving second baseman to make it 6-4.
Brandeis would get no closer than that as WPI added an insurance run in the sixth and sophomore Clare Doolin (Newton, MA) closed out the contest for her second save of the season in the 7-4 victory. Doolin hurled 2.1 scoreless innings with a walk and two strikeouts. Rookie starter Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, NJ) earned the win to improve to 14-6 on the year with 4.2 innings of work, allowing four runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
The Engineers were led offensively by Fekete who was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI on the afternoon and Bumila who was 1-for-2 with two runs, an RBI, and two walks. Senior outfield Nicole McDonough (Abington, MA) and freshman shortstop Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI), who earlier in the day were named to the All-NFCA All-New England team, combined for three hits, two runs scored and a RBI.
The Judges featured six starters with two hits apiece led by Coleman who went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Junior Nikki Cote (Shelton, CT) took the loss in the circle, tossing 3.1 innings while allowing five runs on four hits with four walks and no strikeouts to fall to 7-10 on the season.
Brandeis closes out their 2014 campaign with a 21-18 record while WPI improves to 29-13.
In the opener, it was Salve Regina's Genevieve Benoit (Swampscott, MA) who was the offensive star, driving in the Seahawks' first five runs. In the first, she had a two-out, two run single after the bases were loaded on three walks. In the third, after she delivered a long home run to straight-away center field to give SRU a 5-1 lead. It was her second homer of the season. For the day, Benoit was 3-4 with five RBI, a run scored and a homer.
WPI didn't go away, as Fekete bounced a ball off the top of the fence and over in the fourth for her team-leading fifth round-tripper of the season. Sara Nelson (Bristol, CT) of Salve Regina got the run back with a two-out single in the top of the fifth, but the Engineers struck for three in the bottom of the frame, including a two-run homer to left by Bumila. It was Bumila's third of the campaign. SRU added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to claim the 7-5 win.
Sophomore Nicole Parry (Quincy, MA) earned the win in the circle for the Seahawks, her 12th of the season. She gave up seven hits and five earned runs in seven innings for her 18th complete game. Parry struck out eight and walked just one. Doolin suffered the loss, despite allowing just two hits, but three of the four walks she allowed scored. Doolin also struck out three hitters. Medino gave up seven hits in five innings of relief for the Engineers, striking out two and walking one.
Release Courtesy Brandeis Sports Information