Graca and Wood Key NEWMAC Softball Sweep of Wellesley

Katie Chagami

Wellesley, MA --- Sophomore Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) batted 2-for-3 in each end of the doubleheader and junior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) was 3-for-4 with a grand slam in the nightcap as WPI swept Wellesley 4-2 and 10-1 (6 inn.) in NEWMAC Softball action Friday.

The Engineers, who are ranked fourth in the initial NCAA Regional Rankings, improve to 26-8 and 15-1 while the Blue slip to 7-22 and 4-12.

After three scoreless innings by both sides, Graca drove in a pair of runs with a triple, the only extra base hit of the game. Senior Katie Chagami (Waipahu, HI) then singled up the middle to plate Graca for the 3-0 advantage. Chagami later crossed the dish on a miscue put into play by senior Nina Murphy-Cook (Roseville, CA) in the top of the seventh.

With two outs in the home half of the seventh, first-year Alyssa Hana (La Mirada, CA) reached on an infield miscue to help sophomore Autumn Brown (Marshfield, MA) and classmate Kendall Smith (Turlock. CA) score.

Senior Julia Warner (Kenmore, WA) shouldered the decision for Wellesley in the complete-game effort.

WPI senior Kelsey Saucier (Worcester, MA) did not allow an earned run on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in six innings-plus innings while first-year Nicole Kuberka (Los Angeles, CA) finished the game for WPI.

Junior Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) gave the Engineers a 2-0 lead in the second game with a triple to right center. The Blue cut the deficit in half when first-year Gen Brittingham (Aliso Viejo, CA) singled to the pitcher with runners on the corners in the bottom of the first.

Graca continued with a leadoff home run on the top of the second. After two outs, Murphy-Cook sent a single through the left side to make it 4-1 WPI. Wood swiped home on a double steal with two outs in the third. Senior RiAnna May (Westminster, CO) tacked on another with a single to right in the fifth. Wood swung the door wide open with a grand slam to left in the top of the sixth.

Brittingham, Brown and sophomore Jessica Budz (Traverse City, MI) accounted for the three Wellesley hits while senior Madeline Bianchi (Lakeville, MN) led the Blue pitchers with three strikeouts including two looking.

Graca, senior Ama Biney (Worcester, MA), Murphy-Cook and LeClaire joined Wood in the multi-hit club with two apiece. First-year Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) did not yield a run on two hits and zero walks with four strikeouts in 5 2/3 of relief.

Wellelsey hosts Clark and WPI entertains MIT, the second-ranked team in the regional poll, tomorrow at noon. In addition to Senior Day, the Boynton Hillers will be looking to secure their third NEWMAC regular season title in as many years.