KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Simmons College softball team staged a pair of comebacks, but came away with one win in a double-header with Emerson College, winning the first game, 4-3, before dropping the nightcap, 14-9, this afternoon at the Citrus Games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. The Sharks and the Lions are now both 1-3 on the season.
Senior second baseman Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) went 2-3 with two runs scored, a stolen for Simmons in game one, while sophomore first baseman Alexandra Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) drove in a pair of runs, including the eventual game-winner, and singled in the contest. Junior right-hander Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) went the distance to pick up her first win of the year and improve to 1-1, allowing three runs on 10 hits and three hit batters, while striking out four.
Junior center fielder Jacqueline DeFusco (East Greenwich, R.I.) led Emerson with a 3-4 effort, including a double and an RBI, while first year shortstop Micaela Dix (White House Station, N.J.) was 2-4 with a run scored. First year starting pitcher Keely Marquez (La Verne, Calif.) (0-2) was saddled with the loss after yielding four runs on six hits and a hit batter in addition to three strikeouts.
The Sharks faced a 3-2 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning when first year center fielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on an errant throw to first. She was plated on a single up the middle by Rastello to knot the contest at 3-3, before Rastello later scored on a single to left off the bat of Moleski to give Simmons a 4-3 edge.
The Lions threatened in the top of the seventh with runners on first and second with one out, but Nelson was able to escape with the victory.
The Sharks loaded the bases in the bottom of the first and plated their first run when Rastello, who had reached on a bunt single, scored on a fielder's choice from Moleski. Simmons added another run when sophomore third baseman Taylor LeBrun (Milford, Mass.), who reached on a fielder's choice, scored on the front end of a botched Emerson attempt to thwart a double-steal.
The Lions evened the game with two runs of their own in the top of the second when they loaded the bases and received back-to-back run-scoring singles. Marquez reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on a single up the middle off the bat of sophomore third baseman Caroline Fortuna (Higganum, Conn.). DeFusco followed with a baseknock to left field, scoring senior outfielder Shelby Carney (North Reading, Mass.) to tie the game at 2-2. Carney previously reached on a single.
Emerson tacked on another run in the third to take the lead at 3-2. Dix reached on an infield single to begin the frame and later scored on an infield single from Marquez.
Simmons spotted the Lions eight runs in the first three innings of the game, only to climb all the way back and take a 9-8 lead by the fifth inning, but couldn't hold onto the newly acquired lead. Each team rapped out 16 hits in the second game.
Junior Jillian Gearin (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) ripped a double to open the bottom of the fifth inning for Emerson and later scored on a two-out double by sophomore left fielder Alena Jones (Woodinville, Wash.) to tie the score at 9-9.
The Lions put the game away with a five-run sixth. DeFusco led off the inning with a single to center and trotted home ahead of a two-run blast over the fence from sophomore designated player Kallista Leonardos (El Granada, Calif.) to give them an 11-9 margin. Emerson kept the pressure on with Dix singling through the left side and later coming around to score on another double by Gearin. Sophomore catcher Katie Hill (Canton, Conn.) followed with a single and both players scored ahead of Jones' fifth hit and third extra-base hit of the contest, a double, to give the Lions a 14-9 advantage.
Emerson put five runs on the board in the bottom of the first to take a 5-0 lead. Hill keyed the frame with a two-run single, while DeFusco, Goldstein and Gearin all singled home runs in the inning as well. The Lions added two more runs in the second thanks to a leadoff home run over the left field fence off the bat of Jones and an unearned run. Emerson increased its lead to 8-0 when Carney launched a homer to left field in the third.
The Sharks countered with three runs in the fourth to cut the deficit to 8-3. Sophomore Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) and first year shortstop Ashley Lynch (Shrewsbury, Mass.) each bookended a Nelson single with fielder's choices to load the bases for senior catcher Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine), who smoked the first pitch she saw for a three-run double down the left field line.
Simmons sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six more times in the fifth to take a 9-8 lead. Hennessey and Rastello opened the frame with consecutive singles before LeBrun pulled the Sharks to within 8-6 with a three-run bomb to center field for her first homer of the season. Nelson later singled and scored on Gauvin's second two-bagger of the day and Simmons took the lead when first year shortstop Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) cracked an opposite field ground-rule double to right field for a pair of runs and a 9-8 edge.
Jones finished the contest going 5-5 with a pair of doubles, a homer and four runs batted in, while scoring twice from the leadoff spot to lead the Lions. Gearin was 3-4 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored and Hill knocked in a pair of runs, collected two hits and scored a run. Junior reliever Kodie Cash (Big Bear, Calif.) earned the victory in relief, hurling two and a third innings of shutout ball on two hits and two walks, while fanning a pair of batters. Junior starting pitcher Casey Tsamis (Colchester, Conn.) allowed four runs on eight hits in four-plus innings and also recorded a strikeout.
Gauvin led the Sharks with her first career three-hit outing and a career-high four RBI, while LeBrun drove in three runs with two hits and scored a run. Moleski finished with a 3-4 effort and Del Vacchio, Hennessey and Nelson each collected a pair of hits. Gomes was saddled with the loss, giving up six runs (five earned) on seven hits and a walk in four innings to go with a strikeout. Reeves allowed six runs (one earned) on six hits in the one-inning start.
Simmons returns to the diamond on Wednesday, March 8 when it takes on Worcester Polytechnic Institute at 1:15 p.m. in Kissimmee, Fla., while Emerson plays Meredith College on the same day and time.