NEWTON, Mass. -- Simmons Softball swept the Anna Maria AMCATS, 10-2 and 11-3 in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference double-header Saturday afternoon at Lasell College. The Sharks move to 14-5 overall and 7-2 in the GNAC, while the AMCATS fall to 2-19 overall and 1-9 in the conference.
Simmons sophomore Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.) struck out all three AMCATS in the first inning before the Sharks scored three runs to take an early lead. Senior Ari King (Westford, Mass.) hit a double to center field and advanced to second when Alaina DeNoncour (Johnston, R.I.) reached on a fielder's choice. Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) singled up the middle to score King and Victoria Luongo (Medford, Mass.) doubled down the left field line to send White and DeNoncour around the bases.
Backhaus continued her dominance in the second inning, striking out Lindsay Bond and Makayla Leite for the first two outs and completed the inning as Justine Lalonde grounded out to the pitcher.
Jen Field (Windham, Maine) started things off for the Sharks in the bottom of the second with a single up the middle. Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) followed suit and Field scored on an error by the center fielder. King hit her second double of the day to left field to score Cunningham from first and Backhaus singled through the middle to score King to give the Sharks a 6-0 lead. The AMCATS made a pitching change but DeNoncour was not fazed as she hit her first home run of the season, giving the Sharks an 8-0 lead.
After a scoreless third and fourth inning, the AMCATS found their bats in the top of the fifth. Lalonde started off the inning with a walk and Ashley Anderson singled to left field to advance the runner. Backhaus struck out the third batter for the Sharks first out but Anna Maria loaded the bases when Cristina Turley singled up the middle. Lalonde scored the AMCATS first run off a Sharks error in left field off a pop up from Angela Vousboukis but the Sharks picked Anderson off third with a heads up play by Luongo. Tabitha Ruggeri picked up an RBI for her double to centerfield to score Turley from second for the AMCATS second run but Backhaus ended the inning with her 10th strikeout of the game.
Simmons almost added a ninth run in the fifth as freshman Amy Maher (Milton, Mass.) hit her first career double to the centerfield wall but the AMCATS defense executed the next two outs to end the inning.
In the sixth inning, the Sharks held the AMCATS scoreless and added two runs in the bottom of the inning when DeNoncour doubled to left field to score King and White scored with a bases loaded walk, which ended the game, 10-2.
With the win, Backhaus picked up her ninth victory of the season, pitching a complete six innings, allowing just four hits with ten strikeouts. Nichole Lowe takes the loss for the AMCATS.
The Sharks took an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first as DeNoncour singled up the middle to score King from second and White double to centerfield as DeNoncour rounded the bases and picked up an RBI. Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) hit a single to move White to third and Luongo picked up her second hit of the day with a single to left field to score Caracciolo and White.
After a quick second inning by both teams, the Sharks added five runs in the third to take a 9-0 lead. DeNoncour started off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third when White singled. Caracciolo singled up the middle to score White and Luongo singled through the left side to advance Carracciolo to second. Senior Cailin Pagel (Dorchester, Mass.) singled up the middle and recorded an RBI and Luongo and Pagel both scored off errors by the AMCATS.
Anna Maria closed the Sharks lead in the top of the fourth as Lowe singled up the middle and advanced to second off a sacrifice bunt by Ruggeri. Samantha Miller singled to score Lowe from second and Bond followed suit with a single to advance Miller to second. Lalonde hit a double to right center for two RBIs before the Sharks were able to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Heather White hit her first career home run over the centerfield fence to add to the Sharks lead but it wasn't until the bottom of the fifth that Cunningham scored off a single by King to end the game, 11-3.
Sharks pitcher Amanda Cordeiro (Fall River, Mass.) picked up her fifth win of the year, pitching all five innings with four hits and three strikeouts. Vousboukis takes the loss for the AMCATS.
Simmons returns to action tomorrow in more GNAC action when they travel to Suffolk University for a 12:00 p.m. start. Both teams will be playing on behalf of Coaches vs. Cancer, an organization within the American Cancer Society.