LEESBURG, Fla. – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth softball continued rolling Friday afternoon as the team earned its third two-win day of Spring Break, shutting out Gordon 5-0 in game one and posting the first walk-off of the season to defeat Fitchburg State 4-3 in game two of the twin bill at the Sleepy Hollow Athletic Complex in Leesburg, Fla.
Score: UMass Dartmouth 5, Gordon 0 (Game One) | UMass Dartmouth 4, Fitchburg State 3 (Game Two)
Records: UMass Dartmouth (8-4), Gordon (4-8), Fitchburg State (2-8)
How it Happened
UMass Dartmouth 5, Gordon 0
The top three hitters in the lineup provided the charge offensively as Maddie O' Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.), Leah Major (Fairhaven, Mass.) and Emily Colton (Kington, Mass.) finished game one a combined 6-for-11 while plating three of the team's runs, and driving in another three. Senior Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) continued a string of successful outings, pitching four scoreless frames while striking out three and allowing just one hit to pick up her fourth win of the year.
UMass Dartmouth took control of the ballgame in the top of the third inning, using a five-hit inning to push across four runs. After back-to-back singles from Brittany Polk (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Kaitlyn Hart (Norton, Mass.) led off the inning, the Corsairs hitters pounced on the chance to drive in runs as O' Gryzek singled through the right side of the infield to plate both runners. Major mimicked the lead-off hitter of the lineup one batter later, finding a hole between first and second to bring in O'Gryzek from second. With one out, Kylie Fletcher (Dighton, Mass.) lifted a ball into the middle of centerfield while Major successfully tagged up on the play for the fourth run of the inning.
Smith dominated the next inning, putting in the book her second one-two-three inning of the game, before shutting down the Gordon offense again in the fourth, stranding a runner on second without allowing a hit in the frame. In the top of the fifth, the Corsairs tacked on their final run of the game when Colton rocketed a single into the left-center gap to allow O'Gryzek to trot home from third.
Annika Evensen (Lake Forrest, Calif.) came in for relief in the fourth inning, and the story remained offensively for the Scots as it was only able to muster two hits off of the sophomore right-hander. In three innings of work, she picked up five strikeouts to shut the door for her first collegiate save.
UMass Dartmouth 4, Fitchburg State 3
The Corsairs pounded out 11 hits in game two, but it was the final one off of the bat of sophomore Cierra Sheerin (Bridgewater, Mass.) that lifted the team to its first walk-off victory of the 2017-18 campaign, staving off the Falcons 4-3 in the final at-bats of the game. The offense was paced by Major who recorded her first collegiate three-hit contest while Colton, Fletcher, Sheerin and Nicole McSweeney (Bridgewater, Mass.) all had two knocks apiece.
UMass Dartmouth came out of the gates hot, taking its first lead in the home-half of the first inning as it scored a pair of runs off three hits. After Major singled through the left of the infield, the Corsairs plated their first one batter later when Colton doubled into right-center field to bring in the run from first base. Later, Colton's savviness on the base paths allowed her to scamper in from third base on a stolen base by Fletcher to make it 2-0.
Fitchburg State produced all three of their runs one offensive appearance as it plated three in the top of the third. It started as the first three hitters of the inning reached base safely to load them up. With no outs, Melissa Diphilippo punched a single through the left side to drive in the first, before Cammi Sperling (Rutland, Mass.) singled in Maddie Medina (Pelham, N.H.) to double up in the inning. Samantha Woodman (Essex, Mass.) capped off the scoring for the Falcons, working a two-out, bases loaded walk to give them the 3-2 lead.
The Corsairs were only able to get three hits throughout the next three innings, stranding the tying run in scoring position in the fourth, five, and sixth frames. Kate McDonald (Scituate, Mass.) held the deficit at one as she tossed four complete in a relief appearance, allowing just two hits and keeping the Falcons hitters off balance.
In the bottom of the seventh, with the final chances get something going, the Corsairs finally struck with the game-winning effort. McSweeney wasted no time getting the tying run aboard, singling up the middle and moving to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Major continued her hot-hitting for the day when she singled to move McSweeney to third before Colton knotted the game at three apiece with her second ribbie of the game. With the bases loaded and one-out, Sheerin had her moment to be the hero and capitalized as she placed the walk-off single out of reach of the third baseman, hugging the left field line to bring in Major from third base for the 4-3 victory.
Inside the Numbers
- Smith picked up her LEC leading fourth victory in the circle in game one, collecting her 30th career-win inside the circle in her third-consecutive start for the team.
- Evensen closed the door in game one for her first career-save, tying a career-high in strikeouts with five which she previously set on March 24th in a 4-2 triumph against Johnson & Wales.
- Major added her first two multi-hit games of her career, finishing the day with five in total. She has reached base safely in nine of the opening 12 games of the season.
- Colton cranked out her sixth multi-hit contest of the season while O'Gryzek's two-hit performance at the dish gives her five such occasions this year.
- UMass Dartmouth outhit its opponents 19-9 in the two-game sweep while improving to 11-9-1 all-time against Fitchburg State in game two.
UMass Dartmouth concludes its trip in Florida Saturday with a doubleheader at the Legend's Way Ballfields against Pomona-Pitzer at 9:00 a.m. and Washington & Jefferson at 11:30 a.m. before returning to snowy New England.