NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- First year left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) collected five hits, including three extra-base hits and junior catcher Taylor LeBrun (Milford, Mass.) doubled twice and knocked in three runs to lead the Simmons softball team to a doubleheader sweep over host University of Saint Joseph (Conn.), winning the first game, 8-2, before taking game two, 6-0, this afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action in a twinbill played at the Shea Softball Complex on the campus of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Conn. The Sharks improve to 17-15 overall and 11-7 in league play, while the Blue Jays fall to 19-11 and 11-5.
The Simmons offense rapped out 24 hits, including seven extra base knocks, while the pitching allowed just two runs over 14 innings.
Vann was 5-7 on the day with a double, a triple and a home run to go with four runs scored, two runs batted in and a stolen base for the Sharks, while LeBrun was 4-7. The pair was two of eight Simmons batters to collected multiple hits on the day. Sophomore center fielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) drove in four runs and was 3-8, while first year shortstop Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) cracked a double and a triple in addition to knocking in two runs and scoring a run.
Sophomore McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) was 3-6 with a run scored for Saint Joseph, while junior Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) was 2-6 with a homer, two RBI and a run scored. Senior Sarah Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) and junior Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) each collected a pair of hits.
The Sharks scored two runs in the second and two more in the third to take a 4-0 lead in the opening contest. Santoro plated the first run of the day with a double and scored ahead of an RBI single off the bat of first year right fielder Sydney DeVogt (Exeter, N.H.) to give Simmons a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Vann led off the third with a triple and scored on a ground out by Hennessey to increase the Sharks' lead to 3-0. Simmons scored its fourth run of the frame when sophomore third base Dom Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.) reached on a single, sophomore Bethanie Dudley (Troy, N.Y.) pinch ran and later scored when first year first base Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice and got hung up in a rundown between first and second, allowing Dudley to score.
The Blue Jays got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit in half to make it 4-2. Driscoll stroked a leadoff single and came around to score ahead of Russo's homer to left center. The blast gave the home team its only runs of the day as the Sharks pitching staff got the final 33 outs of the afternoon without allowing a run over 11 innings.
Simmons padded its lead to 5-2 with a run in the fifth when Vann singled, stole second and scored on a Hennessey single up the middle. The Sharks tacked on three more runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach with a comfortable 8-2 lead. Yabroudy knocked in a run with a single, while LeBrun capped the scoring with a two-run double for Simmons. Junior left-handed starting pitcher Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) (2-2), scattered nine hits and allowed two runs in four innings, while striking out one and walking a batter to earn the victory. Sophomore reliever Bridget Garach (West Hartford, Conn.) picked up her league-leading third save of the season with three innings of hitless relief that included a strikeout.
Sophomore pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) (10-8) suffered the loss for the home team, giving up eight runs on 16 hits and a walk, while fanning a batter.
The Sharks completed the sweep behind a five-hit shutout from senior right-hander Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.), who improved to 11-6 with four strikeouts and no walks in seven complete innings.
Simmons got on the board in the top of the second when Yabroudy worked a one-out walk and scored on a LeBrun double to left center. The Sharks took advantage of another free pass in the third when sophomore second base Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) drew a leadoff walk and circled the bases ahead of Vann's third home run of the season to give Simmons a 3-0 margin. Patience paid off again for the Sharks in the sixth with sophomore designated player Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) reaching on a bases on balls to open the frame and later scored on a two-out triple off the bat of Santoro to give the visitors a 4-0 advantage. The Sharks added two insurance runs in the seventh to take a 6-0 cushion when Del Vacchio and Vann each reached on singles to open the inning and raced around the bases to score on a single up the middle from Hennessey.
First year Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) (9-3) took the loss for Saint Joseph, allowing six runs on eight hits and three walks to go with eight strikeouts.
Simmons returns to action on Wednesday, April 25 when it hosts GNAC rival Suffolk University for a 5:00 p.m. twinbill, while the Blue Jays host Albertus Magnus College on April 24 at 3:00 p.m.