LeClaire Leads Softball in Game Two of Doubleheader Split at Emerson

Kelsey Saucier

Boston, MA --- Junior Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) batted 4-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in the nightcap as WPI split a NEWMAC softball twinbill with Emerson Saturday at Rotch Field. The Lions walked off with the opener, 9-8, while the Engineers rebounded with a 9-5 victory.

Emerson (8-2) and WPI (10-4) have been off since closing out their respective trips at the Sunkissed Games on March 9th and 10th. Of the three common opponents, both teams defeated St. Joseph's (ME) while WPI topped Muhlenberg and Emerson edged Alfred in extras. Oddly enough, the Lions won their first six and the Engineers entered the day on a six-game winning streak.

Senior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) opened the second game with a triple and was quickly plated by classmate Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA). A wild pitch allowed Emerson to tie the game in the bottom of the second. Freshman Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) and LeClaire then delivered two-run homers for the 5-1 lead in the top of the third. Junior Alena Jones (Woodinville, WA) responded with a two-out two-run single in the home half of the frame.

Gonzales, who went 2-for-4 (double, HR, stolen base, 4 RBI, and 2 runs), followed with a two-out 2 RBI double to center in the fourth. A rare RBI foul out by Emerson made it 7-4 heading into the fifth. Freshman Nicole Kuberka (Los Angeles, CA) then pushed the Engineers lead to 8-4 with a productive ground out. LeClaire later drove in an insurance run in the sixth. Jones struck again for the Lions, this time with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh for the 9-5 final.

Junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) also had a pair of hits - one double - for the Engineers while Biney tripled, walked twice and scored three times. Murphy-Cook tripled and Kuberka stole a base. Senior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA), who shared time in the circle with sophomore Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA), picked up the win.

Emerson junior Kallista Leonardos (El Granada, CA) hit 2-for-3 and Jones totaled three RBI. Freshman Neely Eddleston (West Wareham, MA) and sophomore Erin Nolan (Hunterdon, NJ) pitched for the Lions.

The hosts trailed the opener 8-7 after five. Jones leveled the game with a bases-loaded free pass in the sixth before sophomore Marisa DeFranco (Falls Church, VA) ended it with a squeeze.

WPI enjoyed the early 1-0 lead thanks to a Gonzales sacrifice fly. Senior Jacqueline DeFusco (East Greenwich, RI) helped DeFranco score with a ground out in the bottom of the frame. Senior Molly Goldstein (Ridgefield, CT) was part of a pair of runs in the second as she doubled in a run before touching home on a wild pitch.

Gonzales tripled to plate two as the game was 3-3 in the top of the third. Wood then helped Gonzales get home with a single up the middle and eventually scored thanks to an outfield miscue. A wild pitch allowed Emerson to cut the deficit to one.

The Lions went ahead thanks to a two-run single by Leonardos before adding one more thanks to another wild pitch. Gonzales singled in a run and scored on a LeClaire ground out to make it 7-all before senior RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) gave the Engineers their final lead with an infield RBI single in the fifth.

Gonzales finished 3-for-4 with a triple, four RBI and two runs scored. Murphy-Cook, Wood and May all registered a pair of hits and senior Julia Veitch (Carlisle, MA) walked twice. Biney and Murphy-Cook each stole a pair of bases in the effort. Freshman Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) struck out five in the win. Kuberka and Phillips also pitched for the Engineers.

Emerson's top three in the lineup, DeFranco, freshman Lindsey Lowe (Porter Ranch, CA) and Leonardos (double) accounted for seven of the team's nine hits. DeFranco and Lowe (double) also totaled five runs scored while Leonardos drove in a pair. Goldstein doubled and sophomore Micaela Dix (White House Station, NJ) walked twice.

WPI is slated to make its 2018 Rooftop Field debut Wednesday with a pair versus No. 15 Amherst beginning at 3:30pm. Emerson continues its homestand with a 3pm set with Lesley on Tuesday.