Del Vacchio Leads Softball in Split with Norwich, 1-4, 5-4

First year Lauren Del Vacchio went 4-4 vs. Norwich in the second game for the Sharks.
First year Lauren Del Vacchio went 4-4 vs. Norwich in the second game for the Sharks.

BOSTON, Mass. - First year Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) collected five hits and went 4-4 to lead the Sharks to a 5-4 win over Norwich University in the day's second game after dropping the opener, 4-1, to gain a split in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader this afternoon at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. Simmons is now 9-12 overall, including 4-4 in league play, while the Cadets are now 2-12 and 2-4. The twinbill was originally scheduled in Northfield, Vt., but was moved to Boston, while keeping Norwich as the home team. 

Del Vacchio was 5-7 with three runs scored, a triple and a stolen base to lead the Sharks, while sophomore catcher Alexandra Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) collected a pair of hits and knocked in two runs. First year shortstop Ashley Lynch (Shrewsbury, Mass.) also picked up two hits for Simmons. 

Sophomore center fielder Naomi Rinaldo (Middlefield, Conn.) led the Cadets, going 5-8 with a double and a run scored, while junior third baseman Sarah Perry (New Bedford, Mass.) was 4-8 with two runs scored and a run batted in. First year shortstop Mckenna Wade (Pensacola, Fla.) also contributed with three hits in seven at-bats, including a triple and also scored a run. 

The Sharks scratched out a run in the top of the first of game one when Del Vacchio singled to left and first year center fielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) followed with a bases on balls. The runners both moved up a base on a double-steal, but an errant throw from the Norwich catcher allowed Del Vacchio to score from third to give Simmons a 1-0 edge. 

The Cadets matched the run in the bottom of the third when Rinaldo cracked a one-out double down the left field line and eventually scored on a passed ball. Norwich took a 2-1 lead in the following frame when first year second baseman Katie Reid (Gold Canyon, Ariz.) stroked a lead-off single to left and later scored on a single through the left side off the bat of Perry. 

Norwich added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when first year first baseman Julie Hawk (Huntington, Calif.) worked a walk to open the inning and came around to score on a one-out triple down the left field line by senior left fielder Justina George (Wallingford, Conn.). George also scored on a two-out single through the left side by sophomore Emily Oliver (Sagamore Hills, Ohio). 

Sophomore pitcher Rachel Johnson (Stockbridge, Vt.) did not allow an earned run in seven complete innings and improved to 2-3 for the Cadets, allowing an unearned run on five hits and four walks, while striking out 10. First year right-hander Bridget Garach (West Hartford, Conn.) (1-1) suffered the loss for Simmons, giving up four runs (three earned) on 11 hits and three walks. 

The Sharks rallied for three runs in the fifth of game two to give them the lead for good and the eventual split.

Del Vacchio reached on a lead-off single through the left side and later scored on a two-out single to right center from Moleski for a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Norwich answered in the bottom of the frame when George drew a one-out walk and scored on a single up the middle from sophomore designated player Madison Miller (Long Lake, N.Y.). Simmons jumped back in front in the second when Garach hustled around the bases for a triple down the right field line and scored when first year second baseman Ashley Ignatowski (Guilford, Conn.) followed with a sacrifice fly to center to make it 2-1. The Cadets drew even again with a single run in the third. Perry beat out an infield single to shortstop and later scored on a two-out single through the left side by Miller to knot the score at 2-2. 

The Sharks took the lead for good in the fifth. Del Vacchio singled through the left side to lead off the frame and Lynch reached on a bunt single. Del Vacchio later scored on a ground out and Lynch on a wild pitch to give Simmons a 4-2 margin. Reeves later drew a two-out walk, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) single to right for a 5-2 lead. 

Norwich chipped away at the deficit with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, but was unable to overcome the Sharks. Perry led off the fifth with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a run-scoring single from Rinaldo, while Wade tripled to open the sixth and junior right fielder Olivia Bussiere (Northfield, Vt.) followed with an RBI single up the middle to pull the Vermont squad to within 5-4. The Cadets scratched out a pair of singles in the seventh, but Soqui kept them from scoring to earn her first collegiate save for the Sharks. 

Sophomore Tori Gomes (Taunton, Mass.) (2-6) picked up the victory for Simmons after allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts, while Soqui tossed a pair of scoreless frames on three hits, while fanning two. Oliver (0-7) was saddled with the loss after yielding five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks to go with three strikeouts for Norwich. 

The Sharks return to action on Wednesday, April 12 when they head to East Boston for a 6:00 p.m. twinbill with Suffolk University, while the Cadets head to Paxton, Mass. to take on Anna Maria College on the same day at 6:30 p.m.