PROVIDENCE, R.I. - First year third baseman Taylor LeBrun (Milford, Mass.) doubled and homered to lead the Simmons College softball team in a doubleheader sweep by host Johnson & Wales University, 9-2, 12-4, this afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at the SMG Athletic Complex in Providence, R.I. The Sharks fall to 12-17 overall and 6-12 in league play, while the Wildcats win their eighth straight game to improve to 26-7 and 14-4.
Johnson & Wales piled up 29 hits on the day, including 12 extra base hits.
LeBrun was 2-6 on the day for Simmons with three runs batted in and two runs scored. First year designated player Alexandra Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) knocked in a pair of runs with her first collegiate home run.
Junior designated player Emily Gorecki (Bremerton, Wash.) and classmate Diana Amendolara (Newtown, Pa.) each rapped out five hits, hit a home run and drove in four runs to lead JWU. The first year trio of first baseman Tiffani Semanchik (Flemington, N.J.), third baseman Meghan Gavin (Wallingford, Conn.) and shortstop Brenna DuPerry (Cranston, R.I.) all had four hits, including a triple and a homer for DuPerry.
The Wildcats got on the board first in game one with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning courtesy of three two-out doubles. Senior catcher Kristen Solari (Old Bridge, N.J.) ripped a two-out double down the right field line and came around to score on a double down the left field line by Gorecki. Amendolara traded places with Gorecki with a double of her own to give the home team a 2-0 lead.
Simmons responded with a pair of runs in the top of the second to knot the score at 2-2. LeBrun struck a one-out double to center and Moleski followed with a home run over the center field fence.
Johnson & Wales scored three times in the third to take the lead for good at 5-2. Solari opened the frame by reaching on an error and Gorecki singled up the middle to set up a three-run homer over the center field fence off the bat of Amendolara.
The Wildcats added four more runs in the sixth for a comfortable 9-2 advantage. Semanchik led off the frame with a bunt single and trotted home ahead of a two-run homer by junior pinch hitter Emily Schaper (Pompton Lakes, N.J.) for a 7-2 cushion. Sophomore right fielder Alex Fantasia (Framingham, Mass.) followed with a double to center and was knocked in by DuPerry. Gavin singled home the final run with a baseknock to right center field.
Sophomore starting pitcher Jennifer Corona (Middle Island, N.Y.) earned the victory to improve to 15-3 for Johnson & Wales, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out three. Sophomore hurler Cat Record (Cotuit, Mass.) (2-5) suffered the loss for the Sharks, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and fanned two batters.
Simmons took an early 4-1 lead with two runs in the first and two in the third. Junior second baseman Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) stroked a leadoff single to center and junior left fielder Emma D'Arpino (Johnston, R.I.) and senior shortstop Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) both reached on bunt singles to load the bases. LeBrun plated Rastello with a ground out and D'Arpino later scored on an errant pick-off attempt by the catcher for a 2-0 lead. The Sharks put two more on the board when D'Arpino worked a leadoff walk in the top of the third and an out later, LeBrun crushed her second long ball of the season to give the visitors a 4-1 lead. The Wildcats cracked the scoring column when DuPerry line a home run over the left field fence to lead off the first.
Johnson & Wales erased the deficit with a seven-run third to take an 8-4 lead. Gavin singled and Solari walked before Gorecki launched a three-run home run to center field. DuPerry also contributed in the inning with a two-run single and Gavin knocked in a run with a double as 11 batters came to the plate in the frame. The Wildcats tacked on three more runs in the fourth to take an 11-4 advantage. Gorecki and Amendolara opened the inning with consecutive singles before Semanchik stroked an RBI single for a 9-4 margin. Two more runs later scampered home on a wild pitch. Johnson & Wales scored the game-ending run in the sixth when Semanchik led off with a bunt single, junior second baseman Angelica Reyes (Arleta, Calif.) singled to left center field and first year pinch hitter Julie Saliba (Bayport, N.Y.) singled through the left side to bring home the 12th run. The eight-run margin ended the game due to the mercy rule.
Junior pitcher Emily Gundrum (Bethlehem, Pa.) (3-1) was credited with the victory for the Wildcats after tossing three and one-third innings of hitless relief, while walking one and striking out a batter. Sophomore Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) (0-2) was saddled with the loss for the Sharks after yielding seven runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks in addition to a strikeout in two innings of relief.
Simmons will be in action again on Wednesday, April 27 when it hosts GNAC and cross-street rival Emmanuel College for a twinbill at Roberto Clemente Field in Boston at 6:30 p.m., while Johnson & Wales travels to Standish, Maine on the same day to take on Saint Joseph's College (Maine) for a 3:00 p.m. first pitch.