Offense Stays Hot as Softball Sweeps Smith by Identical Scores

Marissa Gonzales

Northampton, MA --- Junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) batted 3-for-3 with two doubles, a grand slam and seven RBI in the first game and senior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) went 3-for-3 with a double in the nightcap as WPI defeated host Smith twice, 11-1 (5 inn.), Saturday in a NEWMAC Softball doubleheader. 

Senior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) tossed a one-hitter with six strikeouts and only one walk in the opener to reach 10 wins for the third consecutive season, while Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) followed by allowing one run over four innings to pick up her third win in the past three days. 

The wins marks the third NEWMAC sweep for the Engineers in as many days.  The Crimson and Gray, which is receiving a vote in the latest NFCA Top 25, is now 23-7 overall and 13-1 in NEWMAC play.  WPI has won 13 straight NEWMAC contests and is tied in the loss column with MIT atop the conference. 

The two rivals meet Saturday in a twin bill to wrap up the conference's regular season after Friday doubleheaders with the top record potentially on the line. 

In the opening game, senior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA) and freshman Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) both doubled twice and scored three times. 

In both the first and fourth innings, Biney doubled and then scored on doubles by Gonzales, who subsequently scored both times on doubles by Wood. 

The Engineers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and then pulled away in the third inning when Wood mashed a grand slam to push the lead to 6-0. 

Leila Camplese (Tewksbury, MA) singled and then scored on a base hit by Murphy-Cook (2 for 3) to start a five-run rally in the fourth. RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) capped the inning by driving in Wood to set the lead at 11-0. 

Makena Wagner (Hilo, HI) singled to start off the bottom of the fourth and then later came around to score Smith's only run of the game on an outfield error. 

WPI jumped on top early in the second game of the doubleheader with 10 of their  13 hits coming in the top of the top of the first as the visitors scored nine runs. 

Biney, Murphy-Cook and Gonzales all singled to load the bases to start the contest and then Wood sent a two-run base hit up the middle to put WPI ahead. 

Three batters later, sophomore Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) provided another two-run base hit to double the Engineers' advantage to 4-0. 

Skylar O'Connell (North Attleboro, MA) followed with a run-scoring single and then Natalie Fabrizio (Hampstead, NH) drove in Graca with a double to center.

With two outs in the top of the first, Murphy-Cook and Gonzales picked up their second hits of the inning as the former doubled in O'Connell, followed by Gonzales bringing the lead to 9-0 with a two-run single to right field. 

Smith got on board in the bottom of the second after Alyssa Pioggia (East Longmeadow) reached on a fielder's choice and then advanced to third on a double by Lindsey Lord (Goffstown, NH). Pioggia then came in to score and cut it to a 9-1 WPI lead on a ground out by Rowan Turner (Kansas City, KS). 

The Engineers added lone runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Biney singled and then later sped around to score on an error in the fourth to make it 10-1. Saucier singled in Kaitlyn Hess (Milford, NH) in the following inning to set the final score. 

Turner came on to toss the final 4-1/3 innings for Smith (5-20, 2-10 NEWMAC), scattering three hits and allowing two unearned runs. 

WPI steps out of conference Wednesday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader with local foe Becker that also serves as the middle games of as six-game road trip.