PLANT CITY, Fla. – First year pitcher Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) and junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) each hit home runs to lead the Simmons College softball team to a 7-6 victory over Hood College this afternoon at the Randy Larson Complex in Plant City, Fla. as part of the Sunkissed Games. The Sharks improve to 2-5 on the season, while the Blazers fall to 2-1.
Del Vacchio finished the contest going 2-3 with two runs batted in and three runs scored, while Castigliego was 1-3 with three RBI and a run scored for Simmons. Castigliego also earned her first collegiate pitching win in the circle after surrendering six runs on 12 hits and a walk to go with a pair of strikeouts. Sophomore Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) went 2-4 with two runs batted in her collegiate debut and first year catcher Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) was 2-4 with a run scored. First year third base Alex Morang (Windham, Maine) and sophomore left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) each rapped out a pair of hits as well.
First year second base Jules Baker (Mount Laurel, N.J.) and rookie shortstop Cailyn Barthlow (Libertytown, Md.) each collected three hits with Barthlow smacking a pair of doubles, knocking in two runs and scoring a run and Baker driving in a run and scoring a run for Hood. First year catcher Jordan Specht (Frederick, Md.) finished 2-4 with a double and two runs scored. First year starting hurler Maddie Walter (Manheim, Pa.) (1-1) was saddled with the loss after yielding seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits and a walk, while fanning seven batters.
Vann led off the top of the fourth with a bunt single and came around to score on Del Vacchio's first home run of the season with a blast to left field to give the Sharks a 5-4 lead. Simmons added three more runs in the sixth to take a 7-4 cushion. Vann reached on a pop to second that the second baseman lost in the sun and Del Vacchio dumped a single into right field to put runners on the corners, before Del Vacchio stole second to put both runners in scoring position. Bott followed with a two-run single to left to knock in the Sharks' sixth and seventh runs of the game.
The Blazers looked to rally in the seventh when Specht doubled just inside the first base bag with two outs and came around to score on a single to center from Kaitlin Barron (Orrtanna, Pa.) to cut the margin to 7-5. Barthlow followed with a booming double that bounced over the fence to plate Barron and make it 7-6. Castigliego got the next hitter to fly out to center field to end the game.
Hood cracked the scoring column first in the bottom of the opening frame on a run-scoring double off the bat of senior center fielder Jasmine Webster (Warrenton, Va.) to make it 1-0. Simmons countered in the top of the fourth when Del Vacchio drew a leadoff walk and McMahon reached on an error ahead of Castigliego's second home run in five days to give the Sharks a 3-1 lead with two outs.
The Blazers answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to reclaim the lead at 4-3. Specht came through with an RBI double, while first year right fielder Brandi Davidson (Northampton, Pa.) and Baker each stroked run-producing singles during the frame.
Simmons returns to action at 1:15 p.m. when it takes on Illinois College in the Stadium at the Randy Larson Complex, while Hood plays Heidelberg University.