BOSTON, Mass. – Sophomore Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) collected five hits and scored six runs, while classmate Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) knocked in three runs with a double and a triple to lead the Simmons College softball team to a sweep over visiting Saint Joseph's College (Maine), 4-3, 8-4, in Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader action today at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks have won five straight games and nine of their last 10 to improve to 12-10 overall and 6-4 in league play, while the Monks fall to 5-13 and 1-5. The win streak is the longest for the Fenway school since a seven-game success string in 2014.
Del Vacchio was 5-6 with a pair of doubles and drove in two runs, while drawing a walk and driving in two runs for Simmons, while Hennessey was 4-7 on the day. First year right fielder Sydney DeVogt (Exeter, N.H.) was 3-5 with a run scored and an RBI.
Sophomore second base Libby Pomerleau (Saco, Maine) used her speed to go 7-8 on the day to lead Saint Joseph's and added two doubles, a stolen base, a run batted in and four runs scored. Junior first base Melodie Bailey (Lebanon, Maine) was 5-7 with three RBI, a walk and a run scored, while sophomore third base Kaylee Burns (Saco, Maine) plated three runs and was 2-6 with a double.
The Sharks scored single runs in four different innings and made the most of six hits to earn the 4-3 win in the opening contest. Simmons snapped a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the fifth when Del Vacchio reached on a one-out single to center and came around to score on a two-out triple to the right center field gap off the bat off Hennessey to give the Sharks a 4-3 edge. The Monks threatened to tie the game in the seventh when Pomerleau reached on an infield single to lead off the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but was stranded in scoring position as Simmons senior starting pitcher Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) set down the final two batters in order.
Saint Joseph's put two runs on the board to open the contest when Pomerleau doubled and later scored on a single through the right side from Bailey. Bailey later crossed the plate with the second run of the frame when Burns doubled just inside the left field line to give the visitors a 2-0 margin. The Sharks cut the deficit in half when Del Vacchio matched Pomerleau's leadoff double with one of her own in the bottom of the inning and Hennessey's single brought her home with the first run of the day for the home team.
The Sharks knotted the game with a run in the bottom of the second when they took advantage of a miscue by the Monks. First year shortstop Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) reached on a dropped third strike with two outs, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third ahead of a single by DeVogt. DeVogt got caught in a run-down between first and second on a steal attempt, allowing Santoro to score on the front end of the steal.
Simmons scored a single run for the third consecutive frame when Del Vacchio worked a leadoff walk to open the third, stole second and later scored on a double to right center by Hennessey to take a 3-2 lead after three complete innings.
Pomerleau ignited another scoring rally for Saint Joseph's in the top of the fifth when she roped a leadoff single to left, stole second and went to third as the throw skipped into center field. She was knocked in when Bailey reached on an infield single to short to make it 3-3.
Nelson improved to 8-4 with her third win in two days for the Sharks, yielding three runs (two earned) on nine hits and a walk, while striking out four in seven complete innings. Junior starting pitcher Kristal Smith (Pittston, Maine) (2-6) suffered the loss for the Monks, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk to go with five strikeouts in six innings of work.
Simmons scored the first five runs of the game to take a 5-0 lead after four innings of play in the nightcap. Del Vacchio opened the inning with a single, stole second, went to third on a ground out and was driven in by Hennessey for the third time of the day with a ground out for a 1-0 lead. The Sharks tacked on two more runs in the third, highlighted by an RBI single from first year left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.), to take a 3-0 cushion.
Santoro added to the Simmons lead with a two-out run-scoring triple in the fourth and scored the team's fifth run following a single up the middle from DeVogt to give the home team a 5-0 advantage.
Saint Joseph's broke into the scoring column with three runs in the top of the fifth to cut the margin to 5-3. First year catcher Makayla Cooper (Fryeburg, Maine) worked a leadoff walk and rookie center fielder Madeline Wood (Madison, Maine) singled from the nine-hole to put runners on the corners with one out. Pomerleau came through with a single up the middle to bring home the Monks' first run of the game. Burns made it a two-run game with a two-run single later in the frame.
The Sharks matched the three-run rally with a three-run outburst of their own in the bottom of the sixth to take an 8-3 lead. Del Vacchio paced Simmons with a two-run single and later came around to score on an error. Saint Joseph's looked to rally in the seventh when Pomerleau ripped a one-out single to center and came around to score when Bailey placed a single just inside the left field line to make it 8-4. Sophomore reliever Bridget Garach (West Hartford, Conn.) got out of the jam for the Sharks with a strikeout and a fly out to center on a diving catch by Hennessey to end the game.
Sophomore hurler Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) (3-5) earned the victory for Simmons, yielding three runs on five hits and two walks to go with a strikeout in four and two-thirds innings of work, before Garach notched her second save of the season after allowing one run on three hits and a walk in addition to a strikeout in two and one-third innings. Sophomore starting pitcher Kate Whitney (Jonesboro, Maine) (3-5) was saddled with the loss for the Monks after giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and a walk to go with a strikeout.
The Sharks return to the diamond on Tuesday, April 10 when they host GNAC foe Norwich University at Daly Field for a 5:00 p.m. start, while Saint Joseph's heads to Newton, Mass. on April 13 to take on Lasell College at 3:00 p.m.