PLANT CITY, Fla. -- The Simmons Softball team was defeated by Ohio Northern University, 10-2, this afternoon at the Randy Larson Complex in Plant City, Fla. as part of the Sunkissed Games. The Sharks fall to 2-8 on the season, while the Polar Bears improve to 4-4. The game was halted after five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule.
Ohio Northern collected 12 hits and used a nine-run third inning to put the game out of reach.
Sophomore Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) paced the Simmons offense, reaching in all three plate appearances, including an RBI double and reaching via being hit by a pitch twice in addition to scoring a run. First year Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) also knocked in a run and finished 1-2 for the game. Castigliego (1-1) was tagged with the loss from the pitching circle, allowing nine runs (six earned) on nine hits.
Junior first base Brady Guest (Convoy, Ohio) and first year right fielder Marissa Cilluffo (Macomb, Mich.) each had multiple hits and knocked in a pair of runs apiece to lead Ohio Northern. Guest finished 3-3 with a double, two runs batted in and two runs scored for the Polar Bears, while Cilluffo was 2-3 with two RBI and a run scored. First year second base Kara May (Saint Marys, Ohio) was 2-3 with a run scored and knocked in a run. Senior Kaitlin Surdej (Lancaster, N.Y.) earned the victory from the pitching circle, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks in five complete innings to even her record at 2-2.
Ohio Northern sent 14 batters to the plate in the third inning with nine of them scoring, thanks to eight hits and a pair of Shark errors, to take a 10-1 advantage. The frame was highlighted by Guest with a pair of hits and two RBI, while Cilluffo came through with a two-run single. Junior catcher Gabby Stewart (Union, Ky.) also knocked in a run during the frame.
Simmons looked to rally in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs after junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) singled, Bott was hit by a pitch and first year Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) drew a walk. The Polar Bears were able to get a force out at the plate, but Castigliego plated Bott with a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 10-2. Surdej escaped the inning without any further damage as Ohio Northern made the margin stand up to end the contest early.
The Sharks got on the board first with a run in the opening frame when sophomore left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore.) singled down the left field line and came around to score on a double from Bott to give Simmons a 1-0 edge. The Polar Bears matched the run in the bottom of the second when Guest launched a ball to left center field that hopped the fence for a ground-rule double to lead off the inning. May followed, two batters later, with a single to center to bring home Guest with the tying run.
The Sharks return to action on Friday, March 15 when they travel across the city to take on Emerson College in a twinbill starting at 3:00 p.m. at Rotch Field in Boston, while Ohio Northern hosts Alma College on March 16 at 1:00 p.m.