CLERMONT, Fla. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball team had their hot-start to the season cooled on Monday, dropping the game one contest 4-3 in extra-frames against the University of New England, capping the Corsairs winning-streak at four, before falling in a game two pitchers duel 2-0 versus Lake Forest in Clermont, Fla.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 3, University of New England 4 (Game One) | UMass Dartmouth 0, Lake Forest 2 (Game Two)
Records: UMass Dartmouth (4-2), University of New England (1-3), Lake Forest (4-1)
How it Happened
UMass Dartmouth 3, University of New England 4
Sophomore Brittany Polk (Bridgewater, Mass.) picked up her first collegiate three-hit contest, reaching base twice on singles while also swatting her first double of 2017-18 to pace the offense. Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) posted her first multi-hit outing of the year while four others picked up knocks to round out the nine total hits in the game for the Corsairs.
With a 1-0 deficit, the Corsairs pulled even in the top of the fifth inning as Polk led off the frame with a single up the middle of the field before being lifted for speedster Mackenzie Joyce (Marblehead, Mass.), who swiped third base after being bunted over the second. McSweeney didn't waste the opportunity, depositing the ball to the outfield through the hole between first and second base to tie the contest. In the bottom half of the inning, the University of New England repossessed the lead as Meg Harvey's (Westmoreland, N.H.) double over the head of the right fielder highlighted the two-run frame, giving the Nor'easters a 3-1 cushion.
UMass Dartmouth showed some resiliency in the next half inning when Polk's double into left field put runners on second and third with one down. After a walk to McSweeney to pack the bases, Maddie O' Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.) placed a single to centerfield to score Lexi Pereira (Middleboro, Mass.) and Polk with to knot the score at three apiece.
In the bottom of the seventh, the University of New England had an opportunity to walk-off winners when Avery Alberghini (Middlesex, Vt.) swiped third with one out, but that's where she remained as Annika Evensen (Lake Forrest, Calif.) forced a lineout to third before fanning the final batter of the frame.
With the international tie-breaker in effect, the Nor'easters moved the runner from second to third with a sacrifice bunt, before scoring the decisive run as Andrea Gosper (Wyoming, R.I.) laid down a bunt in front of the plate, providing Kaitlin Carson (Melrose, Mass.) the chance at the plate where she was called safe on a close play to give the host the 4-3 margin in extras.
UMass Dartmouth 0, Lake Forest 2
The starters in the circle for both teams battled in game two as Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) went seven strong innings to record her second complete-game of the season, surrendering two runs both in unearned fashion while setting down five batters and scattering five hits. On the other side, Missy Dieckman-Meyer (Amelia, Oh.) tossed a complete-game shutout, striking out seven and allowing five knocks as well.
Lake Forest scored the winning runs in the top of the third, making use of a defensive miscue as Maria Zepeda (Itasca, Ill.) came around to score from second base on the error before Abby King (Park Forest, Ill.) was walked in with the bases juiced. But the Corsairs offense did not go down easily in the remainder of the game putting runners in scoring position during the fifth and seventh innings.
In the final at-bats of the game, Corsairs' freshman Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass.) and sophomore Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) pieced back-to-back singles to kick off the frame, with Sheerin's heads-up base running putting runners on second and third when she took the free-base on the defense's attempt to erase the lead runner. With no outs in the inning, Dieckman-Meyer turned it up in the circle, fanning consecutive batters and concealing the victory with the final out as she fielded a line drive up the middle off the bat of Kerry Farrell (New City, N.Y.).
Inside the Numbers
- Smith allowed two runs in her game two outing, but with them both being unearned, she has now gone 20 innings without being tagged for an earned run.
- O' Gryzek extended her hitting streak to five games with her RBI single in game one but had it broken in game two. That streak was the second-longest of her collegiate career after picking up a knock in eight straight contests as a freshman.
- The team's five hits were the least accumulated in a game this season, combing for 31 in the previous three contests.
- The Corsairs swiped three bags in game one. It was the second time this season that the team had three or more after reaching that number on just three occasions last season.
- The game two shutout marked the first time UMass Dartmouth was held without a run since April 27th, 2017 against Rhode Island College (3-0 loss), snapping a streak of 12 games.
- UMass Dartmouth's four-game streak to start the year is the longest since April 29th to May 2nd when it strung together the same number of victories. That marked was only reach once last season, with the second-longest being a three consecutive wins.
UMass Dartmouth returns to action in their fourth day at the 2018 Spring Games, squaring off with MCLA at 2 pm before wrapping up the day-long meeting against New England school's at 4:30 pm when they take on Suffolk.