BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons College softball team split a Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader with visiting Albertus Magnus College, hanging on to win the opener, 7-6, before dropping the nightcap, 3-1, this afternoon at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks are now 10-21 overall, including 5-11 in league play, while the Falcons are 22-10 and 10-4.
First year center fielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) led Simmons, going 3-6 with a three-run home run and two runs scored, while first year shortstop Ashley Lynch (Shrewsbury, Mass.) collected three hits, including a triple, in seven at-bats to go with two runs batted in and a run scored. Senior third baseman Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) was 2-7 with two runs scored and a stolen base.
Junior third baseman Gillian Fortier (Naugatuck, Conn.) hit for the cycle on the day with five hits, including a double, two triples and a home run, and knocked in four runs to go with two runs scored. Senior center fielder Megan Kelly (Bronx, N.Y.) was 5-6 with a walk and four runs scored from the nine-hole in the order.
The teams combined for 24 hits in the opening game with Albertus Magnus rapping out 13 and Simmons collecting 11.
The Sharks broke open game one with a four-run third. First year second baseman Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) reached on a single, before Rastello reached on a fielder's choice to set up a run-scoring single off the bat of Lynch to give the home team a 2-1 lead. Hennessey increased the Simmons lead to four with a three-run blast over the center field fence for the first-ever home run in Daly Field history in the park's first year of play.
The Falcons got a run back in the top of the fourth when senior second baseman Rachel Cataudella (Shelton, Conn.) stroked a one-out double to center field and came around to score on a single by first year right fielder Aliza Esposito (East Haven, Conn.) to cut the deficit to 5-2. Simmons matched the run with one of its own in the bottom of the frame when sophomore left fielder Sam Curran (Concord, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on a ground out by Del Vacchio. Kelly led the fifth with a single and scored on a Fortier triple, before junior first baseman Melissa Castillo (Taftville, Conn.) later plated Fortier with a single to pull Albertus Magnus to within 6-4. The Sharks received an important insurance run in the bottom of the inning when Hennessey reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a two-out single to center from sophomore Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) to give them a 7-4 margin.
The Falcons looked to rally in the seventh, but came up a run short.
Junior shortstop Brianna Whitfield (West Islip, N.Y.) laced a triple down the right field line to open the frame, before trotting home on a double to right field by first year Laura Anderson (East Haven, Conn.). Castillo singled and junior catcher Daysia Wehder (Queens, N.Y.) drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Cataudella worked a walk to force in a run and cut the deficit to 7-6. First year reliever Bridget Garach (West Hartford, Conn.) came into the game and induced a force-out at the place, a strikeout and a ground out to end the threat and the game for the Simmons.
The Sharks broke into the scoring column with a run in the first when Rastello reached on a one-out single and scored on an RBI-single from Lynch. The visitors matched the run in the third with two outs when Kelly singled and scored on a double to right-center off the bat of Fortier to make it 1-1.
First year starting pitcher Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) (2-4) earned the victory for Simmons, yielding four runs on eight hits and a walk in four innings, while striking out a batter. Garach recorded her second save of the season after hurling an inning and a third of scoreless ball on a hit and a walk to go with a strike out. Sophomore starting hurler Kristen Cunning (Hoboken, N.J.) (0-3) suffered the loss for Albertus Magnus, giving up five runs on six hits and a walk in two and a third innings of work in addition to a strike out.
The nightcap saw both teams combine for just nine hits with both pitchers going the distance.
The Falcons got all the scoring they would need with a pair of runs in the third on a home run. Kelly led off the inning with a single, before Fortier sent a high-towering blast over the left-center field fence for a 2-0 lead. The Sharks cut the deficit in half with a run in the bottom of the inning. Curran drew a lead-off walk, before senior catcher Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine) was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, before Curran scored on a fielder's choice from Del Vacchio when her grounder to the pitcher resulted in a run-down that Curran turned into a run scored.
Albertus Magnus added an insurance run in the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. Kelly worked a lead-off bases on balls and later scored on an error with two outs. Simmons received a single in the sixth by Hennessey and a single in the seventh by Curran, but was unable to push a run across as the Falcons came away with the win.
Anderson (9-3) picked up the complete-game win, allowing a run on three hits and two walks to go with three strike outs for the Falcons, while sophomore starting pitcher Tori Gomes (Taunton, Mass.) (2-11) was saddled with the loss for the Sharks after giving up three runs (two earned) on six hits and a pair of walks to go with a strike out in seven innings.
Simmons returns to the diamond tomorrow when it hosts University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) in a GNAC twinbill at 12:00 p.m., while Albertus Magnus hosts Rivier University for a 2:30 p.m. doubleheader.