NASHUA, N.H. - Junior Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) homered and drove in four runs in the first game and sophomore Kat Guillotte (New Bedord, Mass.) did the same in the night cap to give the Simmons College softball team a Great Northeast Athletic Conference double-header sweep over host Rivier University this afternoon at Raider Field in Nashua, N.H. The twinbill opened the GNAC slate for the Sharks as they improve to 5-6 on the season and a perfect 2-0 in league play, while the Raiders fall to 5-7 and 0-4.
Caracciolo was the catalyst for Simmons right away as the number two hitter crushed her first home run of the season over the right center field fence to give the visitors a 1-0 edge in the top of the first inning. Rivier answered in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs when first year center fielder Tori Dugan (Norwalk, Conn.) led off with a bunt single and came around to score on a triple to right center by first year designated player Jordan Parece (Pelham, N.H.). Parece scampered home with the go-ahead run following a sacrifice fly to right by sophomore shortstop Shaylyn Freitas (Pelham, N.H.). The Raiders tacked on another run in the second when sophomore second baseman Destiny Jordan (Lawrence, Mass.) and junior right fielder Sam Verney (Goffstown, N.H.) worked back-to-back one-out walks and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt. Jordan scored Rivier's third run on another bunt single from Dugan.
The Sharks came back with eight unanswered runs over the next five frames, beginning with in the top of the third when Caracciolo drew a lead-off walk and later scored with two outs on a double to center field off the bat of senior starting pitcher Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.) to cut the deficit to 3-2. Simmons reclaimed the lead in the fourth when first year first baseman Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) and senior left fielder Jen Field (Windham, Maine) each reached via a walk and single, respectively, and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Caracciolo later gave the Sharks a 4-3 edge with a two-run single to center. Simmons kept the pressure on with another run in the fourth following an RBI single through the left side from Nelson to score Backhaus, who had reached on an error to open the inning.
Simmons opened up some breathing room with three runs in the fifth to take an 8-3 advantage, sparked by a run-scoring double from Backhaus, a sacrifice fly by sophomore right fielder Katie Nosky (Dedham, Mass.) and an RBI infield single from Guillotte. The Sharks added their ninth run in the seventh when Field opened the inning with a bunt single, moved to second on a sacrfice and to third on a passed ball to set up a sacrifice fly from Caracciolo.
Rivier rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning when junior left fielder Lia Bobek (Hollis, N.H.) led off with a triple and scored on an error to spark the scoring. Freitas later knocked in another run with a single up the middle before the Raiders added another on a throwing error, but it was as close as they would get as Backhaus closed out the game by fanning a batter and inducing a ground out to earn the win for Simmons and improve to 4-1 on the year.
Backhaus allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits and five bases on ball, while striking out six in seven complete innings for the Sharks, while junior Taylor Miller (Haverhill, Mass.) (2-4) took the loss for Rivier after giving up five runs (four earned) on six hits and six walks to go with five strike outs in five innings.
Caracciolo, Backhaus and Field all had multiple hits for Simmons, while Dugan, Parece and Freitas each rapped out two hits apiece for the Raiders.
The Sharks took advantage of a two-out error in the top of the first of game two when Nelson helped her own cause as the starting pitcher with a two-run triple to right center. It would begin a trend throughout the contest for the visitors as they scored 13 runs with two outs. Senior first baseman Jess Uschmann (Feeding Hills, Mass.) plated Nelson with a single and Uschmann came around to score following a passed ball and an error to give Simmons a 4-0 first inning lead. The Sharks' offense produced again with two outs, adding four more runs in the third when they loaded the bases following a single from Uschmann and walks drawn by sophomore right fielder Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) and Caracciolo to precede a bases clearing triple from senior shortstop Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.). Cunningham then scored on a wild pitch to give the visitors a comfortable 8-0 cushion.
Rivier got on the board in the bottom of the third, courtesy of a run-scoring triple from Freitas and an RBI single from first year right fielder Hailey Reed (Nashua, N.H.) to pull the Raiders to within 8-2. Simmons restored the eight-run margin with single runs in the fourth and six innings. Guillotte plated a run in the fourth and in the sixth with a double and a single, respectively, to score junior center fielder Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) both times with two outs after she had worked a walk earlier in each frame.
Rivier cut the Sharks' lead in half with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 10-5. Dugan reached on a fielder's choice to bring home one run and junior Jess Shanahan (Merrimack, N.H.) knocked in two more runs with a single. Simmons put the game away with a six-run seventh, fueled by an RBI single from Cunningham and a sacrifice fly by Backhaus and capped by a two-out three-run homer to left field by Guillotte to give the Sharks a 16-5 lead. The Raiders got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a ground out and another score on an RBI double struck by junior Libby Sammon (Rockland, Mass.) but their rally would fall short.
Cunningham and Guillotte each rapped out three hits and drove in four runs to lead Simmons, while Uschmann finished with three hits and an RBI. Nelson knocked in a pair of runs, scored twice and collected two hits. Sammon led Rivier, going 3-3 with an RBI, while Bobek and sophomore catcher Nicole Scotti (Concord, N.H.) each finished with two hits.
Nelson (1-2) earned her first collegiate victory for the Sharks, yielding seven runs (two earned) on 11 hits and a walk, while striking out four, while Parece (0-1) suffered the loss for the Raiders, allowing eight runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks to go with a strike out.
Simmons will be in action again on Wednesday, April 1 when it takes on GNAC neighbor Emmanuel College at 6:30 p.m. for a double-header, while Rivier heads to Boston tomorrow to take on Emmanuel at the same time.