KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Simmons College softball team was unable to overcome an early-rundeficit and fell to Meredith College, 9-1, this afternoon at the Citrus Games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. The contest was halted after five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule. The Sharks fall to 2-5 on the season, while the Avenging Angels win their third straight to improve to 9-8.
First year designated player Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) collected her first collegiate hits with two in as many at-bats to lead Simmons, while first year left fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) reached base twice, going 1-2 with a walk. Junior right-hander Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) (2-2) suffered the loss, giving up nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and five walks.
Junior catcher Brittany Bucklin (Smithfield, N.C.) and junior center fielder Sarah Watson (Hope Mills, N.C.) combined for five hits and five runs batted in to lead Meredith. Bucklin was 3-4 with a double, two RBI, a pair of runs scored and a stolen base, while Watson knocked in three runs with two hits, including a double and came around to score once. Junior shortstop Katie Kepley (Rockwell, N.C.) was 2-3 with a run batted in and junior designated player Eran Artigues (Charleston, S.C.) contributed with a 2-4 day at the plate and scored a run. First year hurler Savannah Patterson (Sanford, N.C.) earned her first collegiate victory in her first decision, allowing just one run on five hits and two walks.
The Avenging Angels sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the first and scored four runs to open the game. The North Carolina school loaded the bases with three straight one-out singles from junior left fielder Haley Ervin (Connelly Springs, N.C.), Bucklin and Artigues to set up a run-producing bases on balls drawn by sophomore third baseman Rachel Peel (Rougemont, N.C.) to bring home the first run of the game for Meredith. Kepley followed with an RBI single, before Watson gave the Avenging Angels a 4-0 first inning lead with a two-run double just inside the first base bag.
The Sharks got a run back in the bottom of the frame when Del Vacchio worked a leadoff walk, advanced to second on a balk, went to third on a ground out and scampered home on a sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of senior second baseman Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Meredith increased its lead to 5-1 when Bucklin stroked a one-out single to center field and later scored on an error in the second. The Avenging Angels made it an eight-run game with four more runs in the fifth after seeing nine batters step to the plate. Peel drew a leadoff walk and Kepley singled to right center to set up an RBI single to right off the bat of Watson to give Meredith a 6-1 margin. Junior first baseman Julia Allsbrook (Greenville, N.C.) later walked to load the bases and, following an out, junior pinch hitter Maria Annunziata (Apex, N.C.) was also issued a free pass to force in a run. Bucklin gave the Avenging Angels the eventual deciding difference with a two run-double to center to increase their advantage to 9-1.
Simmons received a leadoff single from De Vacchio in the bottom of the fifth, but was unable to put a rally together.
The Sharks play again today at 1:15 p.m. when they take on nationally-ranked number 15 Coe College, while Meredith plays Saint Joseph's College (Maine) at 3:30 p.m.