STANDISH, Maine - Seniors Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) and Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.) each knocked in a pair of runs to lead the Simmons College softball team to a 5-1 game one victory over host Saint Joseph's College (Maine), before the Monks took the nightcap, 2-0, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference twinbill today at Bailey Field in Standish, Maine. The Sharks are now 10-9 overall and 7-3 in league play, while Saint Joseph's is 15-5 and 7-3.
Simmons broke a scoreless tie in game one with two runs in the top of the fourth when Cunningham and junior second baseman Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) led off the frame with back-to-back singles, before Cunningham scored the first run of the contest on an infield throwing error. Caracciolo later stole second and came around to score on a double to left field off the bat of Backhaus to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.
Simmons padded its lead with three more runs in the fifth sparked by a lead-off double from first year first baseman Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.). Senior left fielder Jen Field (Windham, Maine) later stroked a double of her own to put both runners in scoring position to set up a two-run double to the left center gap from Cunningham to increase the visitor's lead to 4-0. Backhaus later ripped a two-out single up the middle to plate Cunningham with the Sharks' fifth run of the game.
The Monks got a run back in the sixth when junior first baseman Melissa Mayhew (Hiram, Maine) collected a leadoff single and later came around to score on a two-out double to center from first year second baseman Kelsy Gaddy (Limington, Maine) to cut the deficit to 5-1. It was the only run of the game for Saint Joseph's.
Backhaus (7-2) earned the complete game victory for Simmons, scattering eight hits and allowing a run, while issuing two free passes and striking out eight. Senior Laura Jordan (2-3) picked up the loss for the Monks after allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts.
Cunningham (three), Backhaus (two) and Nelson (two) all had multiple-hit efforts for the Sharks, including a double each. Jordan and Mayhew each paced the Saint Joseph's offense with two hits apiece.
The Monks earned the split when they got all the runs they needed with single scores in the third and fourth innings of game two. Senior outfielder Victoria Ramos (North Scituate, R.I.) smacked a single up the middle and later scored on a two-out single to right field from Mayhew to give Saint Joseph's a 1-0 edge. The Monks tacked on another run in the fourth when junior left fielder Megen Pollini (Wolfeboro, N.H.) singled and stole second before racing home with the second run on a double to center from first year designated player Shannon Laubauskas (Mexico, Maine) to make it 2-0.
Simmons looked to rally in the top of the seventh when Field and Cunningham rapped out consecutive singles with two outs, but junior starting pitcher Erica Boulanger (Somersworth, N.H.) fanned the final batter to earn the shutout for Saint Joseph's.
Boulanger (4-0) tossed seven innings and yielded six hits and no walks, while striking out five for the Monks. Nelson (3-3) suffered her first loss in her last four starts for the Sharks, giving up just two runs on eight hits, while striking out three and walking no one.
Mayhew and Pollini each had two hits to lead Saint Joseph's, while Field collected a pair of hits to extend her hitting streak to five straight for Simmons.
The Sharks will return to action on Friday, April 10 when they host Lasell College in GNAC double header play at 3:00 p.m. at Lasell College in Newton, Mass. The Monks will play again on April 9 when they host a conference twinbill with Rivier University at 3:00 p.m.