Gonzales and Phillips Help Key Sweep of Emerson in Softball’s NEWMAC and Home Opener

Mackenzie Phillips

WORCESTER – Sophomore Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) batted 4-for-5 on the day and junior Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) struck out five in a two-hitter as the WPI softball team swept Emerson, 7-3 and 8-0 (5 inn.), Sunday afternoon on Rooftop Field. Junior Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) stole five bases.

The Engineers, who were playing for the first time since March 9, improves to 9-5 on the year while the Lions dip to 9-7.

Emerson senior Marisa DeFranco (Falls Church, VA) opened the game with a single and later scored on a wild pitch in the first inning. The Lions then had two runners in scoring position but WPI sophomore Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) fanned the final batter of the frame. Martin and the Engineer defense went on to enjoy 1-2-3 innings in the second, third and fourth. After a hit by senior Alena Jones (Woodinville, WA) to begin the fifth, WPI's defense resumed retiring Lions in order until a walk to begin the seventh.

Graca drew a two-out walk, stole second and raced home on a single to right by sophomore Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) to even the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third. With two outs in the fourth, freshman Lindsay Ambrosino (Chelmsford, MA) dropped an RBI double just inside the left field line and sophomore Skylar O'Connell (North Attleboro, MA) followed with her first collegiate home run in the form of a two-run shot to left for the 4-1 advantage.

Senior Caraline Wood (Averill Park, NY) later greeted a new pitcher with a two-run standup triple for the 6-1 advantage. The Engineers went on to load the bases to set the stage for a productive ground out by senior Kylie Juarez (Elk Grove, CA) to make it 7-1 heading into the sixth.

Emerson freshman Callie Pratt (Dighton, MA), classmate Karagan Knowles (Tucson, AZ) and Jones walked to load the bases. Junior Micaela Dix (White House Station, NJ) then drew an RBI free pass. Freshman Mary Kuczkowski (Litchfield, NH) singled in another run before the lead runner was erased at the plate on back-to-back fielder's choices and an infield popup ended the threat.

Graca (3 stolen bases) and Gonzales (stolen base) each notched a pair of hits to go with two RBI each from Wood (triple) and O'Connell (home run). Ambrosino added a double for WPI. Martin finished with one run on three hits and four walks, and struck out six, in the victory. Freshmen Abigail O'Connor (Belle Mead, NJ) and Jess Evans (Grafton, MA) also saw time in the circle.

Emerson sophomore Neely Eddleston (West Wareham, MA) and freshman Myranda Bourque (El Cajon, CA) each struck out a batter in the opener.

Graca was hit by a pitch to open the home half of the first inning of the nightcap. The junior then stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Gonzales before swiping home as part of a double steal. WPI plated five more in the second, beginning with an RBI walk by Graca. Gonzales cleared the bases with a double to right and later scored on a wild pitch. Sophomore Brittany Bolster (North Kingstown, RI) pushed the Crimson and Gray total to eight with a pinch hit RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.

Gonzales finished 2-for-2 with a double, three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Graca added two more stolen bases to the collection to go with one each by Wood and Ambrosino.

Freshman Mallory Shofi (Ridgefield, CT) and Kuczkowski accounted for the Lions hits as DeFranco and Lindsey Lowe each drew a walk. Shofi also stole a base. Knowles and Pratt each struck out an Engineer while freshman Katelyn Torlincasi (Bayport, NY) also pitched for the guests.

WPI begins an eight-game road trip with a 3pm twinbill Wednesday at Amherst, who is receiving votes in the NFCA Top 25. Emerson continues its NEWMAC road swing with a 3pm set Friday at Wellesley.