Softball Sweeps Rivier, 10-2, 8-7, to Clinch GNAC Playoff Spot

Softball Sweeps Rivier, 10-2, 8-7, to Clinch GNAC Playoff Spot

BOSTON, Mass. – Five different players knocked in multiple runs to lead the Simmons College softball team to a double-header sweep over visiting Rivier University, winning the first game, 10-2, before taking the nightcap, 8-7, this evening in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks win their fourth straight to improve to 19-15, including 13-7 in league play, and clinch a spot in the upcoming GNAC Championship Tournament. The Simmons win total is its highest since the team won 27 games in 2014. The Raiders fall to 11-27 and 6-16. 

Sophomore second base Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) was 4-7 with a home run, two runs batted in and three runs scored on the day for the Sharks, while first year left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) smacked three doubles, drove in three runs, scored twice and stole a base. First year shortstop Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) led all players with four RBI and was 3-6 with a double and three runs scored. First year right fielder Sydney DeVogt (Exeter, N.H.) also contributed with a pair of hits and knocked in a pair of runs to go with three runs scored. 

Sophomore Kasey Smith (Hopkinton, Mass.) was one of seven players to collect multiple hits for Rivier, going 4-7 with a triple, a run batted in and three runs scored. Sophomore Tayla Legrand (Tewksbury, Mass.) also rapped out three hits and drove in a run, while sophomore Kendall Liggett (Litchfield, N.H.) and junior Jessica Silva (Tewksbury, Mass.) each knocked in two runs and had two hits. 

The Raiders scored two runs in the top of the first to get on the board in game one. Rivier loaded the bases when first year second base Julia Dailey (Dracut, Mass.) worked a leadoff walk, followed by a bunt single from Smith and Legrand getting hit by a pitch to put a runner on every base no outs. Sophomore designated player Taylor Rowsell (Chelmsford, Mass.) plated the first run with a sacrifice fly to right, before Smith later scored from third on the front end of a double-steal that resulted in junior Mikayla Ramsdell (Salem, N.H.) getting caught in a run-down between first and second, but not before the run scored. 

Simmons matched the runs with two of its own in the bottom of the frame. Del Vacchio singled up the middle and Vann drew a walk and both later scored on the benefit of errors to make it 2-2. 

Senior starting pitcher Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) shut down the Raiders for the rest of the game, allowing just three hits for the next five innings. Del Vacchio gave the Sharks the lead for good with her fourth home run of the season over the left field fence to make it 3-2 in the second inning. Vann padded the Simmons lead with a two-run double in the fourth to give the Sharks a 5-2 lead. Simmons tacked on four runs in the fourth, taking advantage of a pair of errors and a two-run single from DeVogt and a run-scoring single off the bat of Del Vacchio to take a 9-2 cushion. The Sharks scored the final run of the game when sophomore third base Dom Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.) drew a walk, classmate Bethanie Dudley (Troy, N.Y.) pinch ran to steal second and later advanced to third on a ground out, before scampering home on a wild pitch to give Simmons an eight-run margin to force the mercy rule. 

Nelson improved to 12-6, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts in six complete innings for the Sharks, while first year pitcher Kellie Kennedy (Hudson, N.H.) (5-13) took the loss after yielding nine runs (four earned) on seven hits and three bases on balls in four and two-thirds innings for the Raiders. 

Rivier registered 14 hits in game two, but stranded 12 runners on base as Simmons held on for the victory. 

The Sharks put five runs on the board to take a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of game two. Del Vacchio drew a leadoff walk and scored ahead of a double to left field off the bat of Vann to make it 1-0. Vann eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly to center from sophomore center fielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.). Simmons loaded the bases with Ortiz and first year first base Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) each getting on base with respective singles and junior catcher Taylor LeBrun (Milford, Mass.) reaching on an error. Santoro cleared the bases with a three-run double off the top of the left field fence to give the Sharks a 5-0 margin. 

The Raiders got two runs back in the top of the second on a two-run single to center from Liggett to cut the deficit to 5-2. Simmons countered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third, including an RBI single from Santoro to give her four RBI for the game and the Sharks a 7-2 cushion. 

Rivier pulled to within 7-5 with a four-run fourth, including a run-scoring single from Silva, a sacrifice fly from Legrand and a double down the left field line from sophomore designated player Courtney Trahan (Brooklyn, Conn. to plate the fifth run of the game for the visitors. 

Simmons came up with a key insurance run in the bottom of the sixth to take an 8-5 lead after they loaded the bases on singles from DeVogt and Del Vacchio, ahead of a bases on balls issued to Hennessey. Ortiz came through with a sacrifice fly to center to plate DeVogt with the eighth run. 

The Raiders rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh, but it wasn't enough as they fell a run short in the loss. Liggett reached on an error with one out, before Smith legged out a triple to right center to knock in Liggett to make it 8-6. Smith scored on a Silva ground out to make it a one-run game, but it was the last run of the night for either team. 

Sophomore reliever Bridget Garach (West Hartford, Conn.) (2-1) picked up the win in two innings of three-hit, no-run relief for the Sharks, while fanning a batter. Nelson closed out the contest, yielding two unearned runs on three hits and a walk in the final two frames to earn her first career save in addition to her victory from game one. Rowsell (3-8) suffered the loss for Rivier, giving up eight runs (three earned) on nine hits and two walks, while striking out three in six innings. 

Simmons returns to action tomorrow when it travels to Paxton, Mass. to take on GNAC foe Anna Maria College for a 12:00 p.m. twinbill, while the Raiders head to Providence, R.I. to take on Johnson & Wales University for a noon double-header.