Gurska and Wood Guide Softball to Victory in Split With Worcester State

Kylie Juarez

WORCESTER – Junior Lindsay Gurska (Revere, MA) and freshman Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) each batted 3-for-4 and combined for four RBI and three runs scored in a 7-2 WPI triumph while junior Sydney Despres (Sterling, MA) hit a grand slam in an 8-5 Worcester State victory as the two softball squads split a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday evening at Rooftop Field.

The Engineers (21-5) won their 10th straight with the game one victory before it was snapped by the Lancers (11-10-1), who were riding a five-game streak heading into today's action, in the nightcap.

After senior Clare Doolin (Newton, MA) pitched a 1-2-3 first, WPI dented the scoreboard three times in the bottom of the stanza. Gurska doubled and Wood followed with a single as they each pushed a run across. Two batters later, Wood touched home on an RBI single by sophomore RiAnna May (Westminster, CO). Neither team scored in the second as Doolin enjoyed another perfect frame.

Worcester State made it a one-run game with a pair in the top of the third as junior Rachel Couto (Chelmsford, MA) delivered an RBI double to left center and senior Taylor Daniels (Norco, CA) lifted a sacrifice fly to left. The Lancers were retired in order in the top of the fifth while Gurska homered to center field for the Engineers in the home half of the frame.

WPI tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth as sophomore Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) swung at a 2-RBI double and Gurska hit an RBI single to right.

Sophomore Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. Biney a double, a stolen base, two RBI and a pair of runs scored. Junior Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, RI) and senior Jacquelyne DiTroia (Andover, MA) each helped the team with a sacrifice bunt. Doolin (9-1) surrendered two runs on four hits in five innings to go with four strikeouts and zero walks. Junior Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, NJ) collected her second save and added two Ks to her season total in two innings of work.

Despres (double), junior Dakota Smith-Porter (Montague, MA), senior Hayley Terry (N. Dighton, MA), freshman Haley Scola (Worcester, MA) and Couto (double) each logged a hit for the Blue and Gold while Daniels added a sacrifice fly. Rookie Zoe Haley (Bellingham, MA) absorbed the decision (0-2) as senior Marissa Avanzato (Pittsfield, MA) tossed the final five for the guests.

Smith-Porter converted a 1-0 pitch into a three-run blast to right as the Lancers took the early advantage in game two. Despres made it a 7-0 margin in the top of the second with a grand slam to center field.

Freshman Kylie Juarez (Elk Grove, CA) doubled in the first Engineer run of the contest in the bottom of the second while DiTroia added an RBI single two batters later.

Junior Kayla Humphrey (Wallingford, CT) plated a run with a run-producing ground out in the top of the fourth. Junior Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, CT) launched her second career home run in the form of a two-run shot to left field to cut the Crimson and Gray deficit to four (8-4) after four. May made it an 8-5 ballgame with an RBI double to left in the bottom of the fifth.

May (double, triple, RBI, run), Juarez (double, RBI, two runs) and Shevchuk (home run, two RBI, run) all went 2-for-3 as Murphy-Cook batted 2-for-4. Biney added a stolen base to the cause.

Sophomore Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) (6-2) and Medino combined to go the first five for the Engineers while sophomore Casey Arpin (Uxbridge, MA) did not allow a run in the final two frames. The Engineer trio totaled seven strikeouts in the game.

Daniels batted 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored as Despres went 2-for-4 with a double, home run, four RBI and a run scored. Smith-Porter added a home run and three RBI as Terry scored three times and Couto chipped in with a double.

Smith-Porter went the first two innings before handing the ball to Humphrey, for a scoreless inning, and returning to the circle in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Meghan Rich (Chelmsford, MA) (3-3) recorded the final 12 outs for the victory.

WPI returns to action Friday with a home NEWMAC twinbill versus Smith beginning at 3:30pm. Worcester State heads to MIT tomorrow for a 4pm non-conference set.