BOSTON, Mass. – The Simmons University softball team rapped out 22 hits, including 10 extra-base hits, but were swept by number 23 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 14-5 in the first game, and 12-7 in the nightcap, today at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks fall to 3-11 on the season, while the Engineers, who are ranked in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, run their win streak to nine straight, for their longest streak since an 11-game string in 2009, and improve to 11-2 on the season.
RPI collected 26 hits fort the day with 13 in each game, while collecting eight extra-base hits.
First year third base Alex Morang (Windham, Maine) was 4-7 on the day with two doubles, a run scored and a run batted in for Simmons, while classmate Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) drove in four runs with a triple and her first career homer. Junior center fielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) was 3-7 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored and senior first base Dom Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.) plated three runs and hit her second long ball of the season. First year shortstop Allie Mulhern (Westford, Mass.) was 3-5 at the plate.
Juniors Allie Hunt (Pittsfield, Mass.) and Maddie Provencher (Rutland, Mass.) each collected four hits and knocked in multiple runs with Provencher driving in four runs and Hunt plating three. Both players scored four runs and stole a base each for the Engineers. Junior Quin Garant (Anaheim, Calif.) was 3-6 with a pair of doubles and three RBI to go with a pair of runs scored, while first year Jessica Torch (Boonton Township, N.J.) scored five runs, stole three bases, drove in two runs and recorded three hits, including her first collegiate home run. Junior Cam Caswell (Prospect, Conn.) also had three hits, including a triple, while knocking in a run and scoring three times.
The Sharks came out swinging in the bottom of the first inning of the opening game with four runs, including two on a Ortiz' second home run of the season. Sophomore second base Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) knocked in a run as well with a single.
RPI got a run back in the second and scored three times to knot the game at 4-4 in the top of the third. Provencher worked a leadoff walk in the second and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior Veronica DeStefano (Emerson, N.J.). Caswell struck a run-scoring triple followed by RBI-singles from Provencher and Garant to pull the visitors even.
Simmons reclaimed the lead when she reached on a come-backer to the pitcher to bring home Santoro with the Sharks' fifth run of the contest. The Engineers received an RBI single from Hunt and a two-run single from Provencher in the top of the fourth to give them a 7-5 margin.
RPI sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth, scoring seven runs on six hits and two errors to put the game away. Torch highlighted the frame by hitting a two-run, inside-the-park home run. First year pinch-hitter Erin Askins (Tehachapi, Calif.) came through with a ground-rule double to right center that plated a pair of runs. The Engineers owned a 14-5 lead after six complete innings to earn the victory after the contest was halted due to the eight-run mercy rule. Sophomore right-hander Taylor Spargo (Wurtsboro, N.Y) (3-0) picked up a 5.0-inning relief victory, surrendering just one run on four hits, with two strikeouts and two walks.
Sophomore Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) (0-5) suffered the loss for Simmons, allowing eight runs (five earned) on six hits and three walks, while fanning three batters.
In Game two, RPI got on the board first with a single run in the top of the second. DeStefano was the catalyst, singling home sophomore Kyla Anderson (Mission Viejo, Calif.) for a 1-0 edge.
The Sharks scored twice in the bottom of the third on a single and a triple from first year Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) and McMahon, respectively, to drive in a run each for a 2-1 lead.
Rensselaer answered with a five-run top of the fourth, beginning with RBI-singles from Hunt and junior Steph Cavallaro (Raynham, Mass.). The Engineers then took advantage of a Simmons error to score a third run, before a fielder's choice and an Anderson base hit capped the scoring to give RPI a 6-2 lead.
The Sharks fought back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run double from Del Vacchio to pull within 6-4. After RPI answered with two of their own in the top of the fifth, the Sharks brought home two in the bottom half a two-run homer by McMahon to keep it a two-run game at 8-6.
Following a scoreless sixth, the Engineers put up another crooked number in the seventh. A sacrifice fly from Cavallaro was followed by a two-run triple off the bat of Askins. First year Ryleigh Greenwald (Piscataway, N.J.) plated one run with an opposite field single to right for a 12-8 advantage.
Simmons was able to scratch across one run in the bottom half of the seventh on an RBI-single from Ortiz, but Spargo was able to finish the contest off for the save, working the game's final three innings for RPI.
First year righthander Erika Holowka (Forked River, N.J.) (6-1) allowed six runs on nine hits over 4.0 innings, but earned the win, striking out three and walking one for the Engineers. First year Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) (2-2) took the loss for the Sharks, yielding 12 runs (three earned) on 13 hits and six walks to go with four strikeouts.
Simmons returns to action on Wednesday, March 20 when it hosts number five Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 5:00 p.m., while RPI plays again on March 23 when it hosts Sage College in a doubleheader at 1:00 p.m.