PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- First year left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) hit a home run and tripled to lead the third-seeded Simmons College softball team in an 8-3 loss to seventh-seeded Emmanuel College (Mass.) this afternoon in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Quarterfinals at Scotts Miracle-Gro Field on the campus of second-seeded Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. The Sharks fall to 21-18 on the season, while the Saints have won 11 of their last 12 games and improve to 23-16.
Emmanuel advances to play Johnson & Wales in tonight's 5:30 p.m. match-up, while the Sharks will continue play in the loser's bracket on Saturday, May 5 at 10:00 a.m., taking on fourth-seeded Saint Joseph's College (Maine), a 2-1 loser to top-seeded Suffolk University, in an elimination game at Memorial Park in East Boston, Mass.
Vann hit her fourth long ball of the year to go with her league-leading eighth triple of the season, a run batted in and two runs scored for Simmons. Sophomore second base Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) cranked her sixth homer of the season and second to lead off the first inning for the Sharks this season, while classmate Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) knocked in a run with a single.
Junior catcher Casey Sheehan (Medway, Mass.) was 2-4 with three runs batted in and cracked a double on the day for the Saints, while sophomore right fielder Yuleska Ramirez Tejeda (South Boston, Mass.) was 2-3, including her sixth home run of the year and knocked in a pair of runs to go with two runs scored. Junior first base Ashley Skey (Brookline, N.H.) also hit a home run and knocked in a run, while scoring a run. First year Meaghan Price (Corning, N.Y.) led all players with three hits.
Emmanuel erased a 2-1 deficit with a four-run second to take a 5-2 lead and never looked back. The Saints received three straight singles from the bottom of the order to open the inning and load the bases. Junior left fielder Olivia Burgos (Newington, Conn.) singled through the right side to bring home Price, who led off the frame with a single, to knot the contest at 2-2. Sheehan gave Emmanuel a 4-2 lead with a single to right field to plate first year third base Emily Blanchard (Sturbridge, Mass.) and Ramirez Tejada. Burgos later scored on an error to give the Saints a three-run margin at 5-2.
Emmanuel tacked on two more runs in the sixth to expand its cushion to 7-2. Price led off the inning with a single to left and came around to score when Ramirez Tejada hit a high fly ball to left that got some help from the wind and landed just over the fence for a five-run Saints lead. The Sharks got a run back in the bottom of the frame when Vann hit a one-out home run to center to make it 7-3.
Emmanuel added an insurance run in the eighth on a solo opposite field home run over the right center fence off the bat of Skey to make it 8-3. Simmons looked to rally in the bottom of the frame when first year shortstop Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) reached on a one-out single to left, but the next two Sharks were retired in order to end the game.
The Saints opened the scoring in the top of the first when sophomore Sarah Hoisl (West Hartford, Conn.) singled with one out and came around to score ahead of a double to right from Sheehan. Simmons wasted no time in countering when Del Vacchio launched a leadoff home run over the right center fence to tie the score at 1-1. Vann followed with a triple to right and scored on a single to center off the bat of Hennessey to give the Sharks their only lead of the day at 2-1.
Junior right-handed pitcher Megan Kieselback (Wethersfield, Conn.) earned the complete-game seven inning win to improve to 10-8 after allowing three runs on six hits and no walks, while striking out four. Senior righty Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) (13-8) suffered the loss for Simmons, yielding seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits and a walk, while fanning three in five and a third innings of play.