Softball Rises to 8-4 to Complete Gene Cusic Classic Spring Training

Softball Rises to 8-4 to Complete Gene Cusic Classic Spring Training

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth culminated its spring training trip to the Gene Cusic Classic by splitting with North Central and Centenary, rising to 8-4 on the season at the CenturyLink Complex on Thursday.

The Basics
Scores: North Central 2, UMass Dartmouth 1 | UMass Dartmouth 5, Centenary 4
Records: UMass Dartmouth (8-4) | North Central (1-0) | Centenary (2-6)

How it Happened
North Central 2, UMass Dartmouth 1
North Central's Molly Price (Naperville, Ill.) smacked a walk-off triple to right field to drive in Taylor Clugston (Bloomington, Ill.), snapping the 1-1 score with the Corsairs and deliver a 2-1 win to the Cardinals in game one.

Junior ace Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) threw the entire 6.1 innings for UMass Dartmouth without an earned run on three North Central hits. Smith fanned two while walking three. The Corsairs' lone RBI was dealt from the bat of freshman Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.).

Sheerin and the Corsairs connected early against Cardinal pitcher Jessica Weaver (East Peoria, Ill.) to take a one-run lead in the first. Freshman Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) got on base in the two-spot with a well-placed bunt down the third-base line, and advanced on a groundout by Brittany Polk (Bridgewater, Mass.). Sheerin then connected for a hit through the left side to send McSweeney home.

Smith sat the first three Cardinal batters she faced in the bottom of the frame, and Weaver settled in to do the same to kick off the second. In North Central's turn to the dish, Brooke Kehoe (Chicago, Ill.) drew the score even with an RBI double to left field, plating Anna Seffernick (Rocky River, Ohio).

A four-inning pitchers' duel followed, with Smith and Weaver trading off to permit just three combined hits from batters. The Corsairs had a chance to take back the lead in sixth, with McSweeney on third and Polk on second, but the Cardinals captured the final two outs. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, an error put Clugston on base, and Price did the honors in the next at-bat.

Weaver yielded just four UMass Dartmouth its, fanning three with the only run earned.

UMass Dartmouth 5, Centenary 4
Sophomore Gabby DeLeon (Hanson, Mass.) tossed five relief innings without allowing a run, collecting her first collegiate win in UMass Dartmouth's 5-4 victory over Centenary to close spring training on a high note.

Senior Marissa Spinuzzi (Fair Lawn, N.J.) went 2-of-3 offensively in the back-and-forth affair with the Cyclones, with McSweeney driving in a pair of runs on a single. Colton and freshman Ashtyn Phaneuf (New Bedford, Mass.) additionally added RBIs for the UMass Dartmouth bats, and sophomore Maddie O'Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.) passed home for three of her team's five runs.

The Cyclones struck for a run to open the first, and UMass Dartmouth responded in kind. O'Gryzek beat out the throw on her run to first and immediately stole second, moving into position to score on a Colton single.

With the bases loaded in the next inning, Centenary's Carolyn Clites (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.) connected to round all three teammates by shooting a double up the middle, but the Corsairs jumped back within a run in their at-bat. McSweeney's hard-hit single to second base plated freshman Lexi Pereira (Middleboro, Mass.) from second and Spinuzzi from third.

DeLeon then entered the game to start the third in relief for Kate McDonald (Scituate, Mass.) and quieted the Centenary offense for four hits until her team's turn at the plate in the fifth. Phaneuf, the designated player, singled through the left side to score O'Gryzek, who reached on a single to lead off the frame.

The Cyclones wouldn't advance a runner past first for the remainder of the game, and O'Gryzek continued her aggressive base-running with the game tied in the seventh. After walking, she took second on a passed ball and third on a ground-out by Sheerin, before recording the winning run on an illegal pitch by Centenary.

Inside the Numbers

  • Through the first full week of the season, UMass Dartmouth tops the conference with a team ERA of 2.10, with Smith second overall in the league with a 1.29 ERA and 28 strikeouts.
  • Senior catcher Gracie Trudeau (Dartmouth, Mass.) sits atop the league with her .545 runners caught stealing percentage, having gunned down six while in Florida, and has a league-low three passed balls to her credit.
  • The Corsairs tied a season-high with three stolen bases against the Cyclones in game two and O'Gryzek sits tied atop the LEC with four individually so far this season.

Up Next
The Corsairs are schedule to open their 2017 home slate on Wednesday, hosting Roger Williams for a single game starting at 4 p.m.