CLERMONT, Fla. - Senior starting pitcher Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.) hurled a shutout and knocked in a pair of runs with three hits to lead the Simmons College softball team to a 9-0 victory over University of Northwestern (Minn.) in six innings this morning at the 2015 Spring Games at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla. The game was called in the sixth inning, due to the eight-run mercy rule. The Sharks improve to 2-4 on the season, while the Eagles fall to 0-10.
Backhaus hurled her 21st career shutout to improve to 2-1 on the season for Simmons, allowing just three singles and a walk to go with 13 strikeouts for her highest punch out total since April 15, 2013 when she also fanned 13 vs. Mount Ida College.
The Sharks put four runs on the board in the third inning to open the scoring. Junior second baseman Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) reached on a two-out infield single, stole second and scored on a single to left field from senior designated player Jess Uschmann (Feeding Hills, Mass.) to give Simmons a 1-0 edge and extend her consecutive game hitting streak to five games. Junior center fielder Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) followed with a single through the left side and Backhaus plated pinch-runner Amy Maher (Milton, Mass.) with the Sharks' second run. Sophomore right fielder Katie Nosky (Dedham, Mass.) brought home both White and Backhaus with a single to right field for a 4-0 advantage.
Caracciolo sparked a Simmons rally again in the fifth by smacking a lead-off triple to right center field and later scored on a White double to left center. Backhaus followed with a run-scoring double down the left field line to extend the Sharks lead to 6-0.
Simmons put the game away with three runs in the sixth frame. Senior shortstop Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) reached on a two-out error and advanced to second on a passed ball, where she was driven in by a single to center field from Caracciolo. Uschmann followed with her first double of the season to put both runners in scoring position. White ended the game with a two-run double to left field to score both runners and make it 8-0.
Backhaus finished the afternoon with a 3-3 day at the plate to go with two runs batted in and a run scored for the Sharks, while Caracciolo and White each collected three hits as well. Caracciolo also added three runs scored and an RBI, while White knocked in a pair of runs, scored two runs and finished with two doubles. Nosky registered a two-hit game and drove in two runs, while Uschmann also rapped out two hits to go with an RBI and a run scored.
Junior designated player Morgan Pfaff (Maple Grove, Minn.), sophomore second baseman Colleen Feldheim (Northfield, Ill.) and sophomore starting pitcher Lauren Silbernick (Osakis, Minn.) all recorded a hit each for Northwestern.
Silbernick suffered the loss for the Eagles, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits, while fanning a batter.
Simmons will be in action again tomorrow when they play the first of three games at 1:00 p.m. vs. Monmouth College at Hancock Park in Clermont, Fla., while Northwestern plays again in the Cobber Round Robin Tournament in the West Saint Paul Sports Center in West Saint Paul, Minn. on March 18.