WORCESTER -- The WPI softball team swept a key NEWMAC doubleheader against Springfield on Friday in a matchup of regionally ranked opponents. The Engineers won both games in five innings, taking the first, 10-2, and the nightcap, 9-1.
WPI, ranked sixth in the latest NFCA Region II poll, improves to 25-13 overall, 11-5 in the NEWMAC. The Pride, ranked third is the region, is now 26-10, 11-5 in conference play. The sweep keeps the Engineers in the hunt for the second seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament.
Multi-RBI efforts from Alex Sheehan (Marion, MA), Alicia Salvalzo (Hudson, NH), and Lindsay Ambrosino (Chelmsford, MA) combined with a solid performance in the circle from Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) gave the Engineers a 10-2, five-inning win in the opener.
WPI went up 3-0 with a one run in the bottom of the first and a pair in the bottom of the second. A Shaina Lazarus (Thousand Oaks, CA) double plated a lead-off single from Sydney Russell (Arlington, VA) for a 1-0 lead, while RBI singles from Stephanie Bishop (Milford, NH) and Sheehan put the Engineers up three after two innings.
Springfield cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the fourth, without the benefit of a hit. A lead-off walk issued to Kristen Acocella (Redding, CT) came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Sara Mulligan (Cheshire, CT) to make it a two-run deficit.
WPI countered with two runs on two hits in the bottom of the inning. A Kallie Case (Arlington, VA) walk and an Ambrosino single both scored on a Salvalzo single to left field, making it 5-1.
Springfield again scored on a sacrifice fly, trimming the deficit to 5-2 in the top of the fifth. Katie Leacoma (Walpole, MA) singled and came around to score on the sac from Acocella.
WPI put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs to walk off with a 10-2, mercy rule win. Three straight walks loaded the bases for Ambrosino, who doubled to right, scoring Jocelyn Diaz (Reedley, CA) and Kelly Pritchard (Orange, CT). After another walk, Russell reached on a fielder's choice and a Pride error allowed both Ambrosino and Case to score on the play. The walk-off hit then came off the bat of Sheehan, which scored Bishop to end the game at 10-2.
Martin tossed all five innings for her 15th win of the season, allowing one earned run on three hits with five strikeouts.
Springfield's Gillian Kane (New Canaan, CT) got the loss, moving to 14-4 on the season. She tossed four innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits.
WPI pounded out 11 hits in a 9-1 game two win to complete the sweep. Pritchard, Diaz, and Bishop all drove in two runs each, while Martin got her second win of the day.
A two-out rally in the bottom of the first got WPI on the board first. Salvalzo walked and stole second to get things started, while a single from Lazarus and a fielder's choice from Diaz both scored runs to make it 2-0.
The Engineers pushed it to 6-0 with four in the bottom of the second. A one-out single from Ambrosino scored on a double from Bishop, while singles from Russell and Sheehan followed to plate two more. A Lazarus double drove in the final run of the frame, as WPI led by six.
Springfield dented the scoreboard in the top of the third, as a lead-off single from Mackenzie Doyle (Glocester, RI) scored on a Callie Gendron (Berlin, CT) double.
WPI added a solo homerun from Bishop on the bottom of the third to make it a 7-1 game.
In the bottom of the fourth, WPI scored two more runs off of three hits to push the score to 9-1. Sheehan led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a Pritchard single to right. Pinch runner Amelia Montgomery (Acushnet, MA) then scored on a Diaz single for the ninth Engineer run.
WPI reliever, Lazarus, sat the Pride down in order in the top of the fifth inning to end the game for the Engineers.
Martin got the win, throwing three innings, allowing one run on three hits to go to 16-4 on the season. Lazarus did not factor into the decision, but pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing two hits with two strikeouts.
Springfield's Ashley Pugliese (Huntington Station, NY) took the loss, throwing four innings, allowing nine runs on 11 hits.
Both teams wrap up the regular season tomorrow on the road with noon doubleheaders. WPI travels to Wellesley, while Springfield heads to Wheaton.