Wood, Gonzales & Saucier Key Victory in Softball Split With No. 12 Amherst

Caraline Wood

WORCESTER – Junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) was responsible for the first four Engineer RBI in game one and freshman RonnieMarie Falasco (Broomall, PA) batted 2-for-3 with five RBI for the Mammoths in game two was WPI and No. 12 Amherst split a softball doubleheader Wednesday on Rooftop Field. The hosts won the opener 7-3 while the guests claimed an 11-3 five-inning triumph in the nightcap.

With the initial victory, WPI (11-5) handed Amherst (12-2) its second loss of the season and ended the Mammoth's winning streak at five games.

After a three-run homer to center field in the first, Wood put the ball in play to chase home senior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) in the third. The Engineers used another stroke, this time a bases-clearing double by freshman Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) in the fourth.

The Mammoths finally broke through with a sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore Katie Kopatic (Houston, TX) in the top of the fifth. Junior Annie Murphy (Austin, TX) reached on two-out triple in the previous inning; however, Amherst's bid was thwarted by a ground out. With a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the sixth, Engineer senior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) induced a liner to third and a grounder to second to preserve the 7-1 advantage.

Freshman Andrea Sanders (Bernardsville, NJ) legged out a leadoff triple before coming home on an RBI ground out by junior Sammi Salustri (Pleasanton, CA) in the top of the seventh. Kopatic immediately followed with a solo blast to center to cut the margin to four (7-3).

Saucier (4-1) struck out a pair in the win while freshman Nicole Kuberka (Los Angeles, CA) completed the game for WPI. Amherst senior Gina Pagan (Orinda, CA) fanned four in the complete-game effort.

Junior Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) was the only Boynton Hiller with more than one hit as Wood (home run) and Gonzales (double, sac fly) combined for all seven RBI. Senior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) and Murphy-Cook each scored twice and stole a base.

Sanders (double, triple, 2 runs), senior Ally Kido (San Jose, CA) and Turner (triple) all had a pair of hits for the guests. Kopatic added a home run and sacrifice fly while freshman Audrey Hansen (Carmel, IN) doubled.

Sanders kept the Mammoth's momentum going in the second game by plating the initial run on a wild pitch in the first. After a change in the circle and a ground out, Falasco sent a two-run double down the left field line for the 3-0 Amherst lead. The guests then exploded for seven in the second, which was highlighted by another two-run double by Falasco. The rookie later lifted a sacrifice fly to center in the fifth.

WPI got on the board in the third with a sacrifice fly by LeClaire. The Engineers looked to keep the game going by scoring a pair in the bottom of the fifth without the benefit of a hit thanks to bases-loaded free passes issued to May and freshman pinch hitter Brittany Bolster (North Kingstown, RI).

Murphy-Cook and fellow seniors RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) and Katie Chagami (Waipahu, HI) accounted for the Engineers three hits. Freshman Kaitlyn Hess (Milford, NH) did not allow a hit or earned run and struck out four in three innings of relief.

Falasco delivered five RBI on two hits while Hansen crossed home plate three times. Sanders and Kopatic each walked and touched home twice. Junior Lorena Ukanwa (Morgan Hill, CA) did not allow an earned run and struck out seven in the first four innings.

WPI is back on the roof this weekend beginning with Springfield at 3:30pm on Friday. Amherst opens a NESCAC series with Wesleyan Friday at 5pm.