Softball Falls to Saint Joseph (Conn.), 5-1, in GNAC Tournament Second Round

Softball Falls to Saint Joseph (Conn.), 5-1, in GNAC Tournament Second Round

BOSTON, Mass. -- The Simmons University softball team was defeated by University of Saint Joseph (Conn.), 5-1, this evening in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Championship Tournament Second Round at Daly Field in Brighton, Mass. The Sharks fall to 19-22 on the season, while the Blue Jays win their fourth straight and eight of their last 10 games to improve to 25-17.

USJ wins their second game of the night after a 3-2 victory over Johnson & Wales University, earlier in the evening, and advance to the winner's bracket to play the North Division's top seed, Emmanuel College, which defeated the North's number three seed, Saint Joseph's College (Maine), 4-2. The Sharks fall as the South Division's top seed and will take on the North Division's second seed, Suffolk University, a 6-4 loser to Saint Joseph's (Maine) in 11 innings, on Friday, May 3 at 5:00 p.m. on Daly Field. 

Sophomore left fielder Ivy Vann (Bend, Ore, sophomore catcher Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) and first years Alex Morang (Windham, Maine) and Allie Mulhern (Westford, Mass.) each singled for Simmons. 

Junior starting pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) allowed just one earned run on four hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts and issued a free pass in seven complete innings to improve to 12-5, while going 2-for-4 at the plate with a pair of doubles, a run batted in and two runs scored. Sophomore right fielder Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) led all hitters with three hits in four at-bats and knocked in a run, while senior center fielder Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) was 1-3 with an RBI and senior Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) tripled and scored a pair of runs. 

The Blue Jays wasted little time, scoring four runs in the first two innings. Sharon began the ballgame rocketing a double into left field. After walks to Klimaszewski and junior McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.), Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) lined a single through the left side to plate Sharon. Skoly grounded out to second for the second out of the inning, but in the back door came Driscoll with the second Blue Jay run. 

In the top the second, the Blue Jay offense stayed hot. Following a double off the bat of first year Samantha Iannone (Wallingford, Conn.) to lead off the inning, Sharon lined a one-out double into left to bring home Iannone with the third USJ run. Sharon later scored on a Sharks miscue to make it 4-0 for the second seed in the South Division. 

The four runs were more than enough for Sharon, who kept the Sharks guessing most of the night. After a bunt single by Mulhern, Sharon settled down and went on to retire the next seven Simmons batters. Morang broke up the string with a sharp two-out single to center in the bottom of the fifth, but the Sharks were unable to capitalize on the base-hit. 

Simmons managed to push a run across in the bottom of the sixth. The Sharks' number nine batter, sophomore Danielle Carson (Ashland, Mass.) began the frame with a walk to bring the order back to the top. After junior Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) reached on a fielder's choice and Vann blooped a single into left field, the Sharks were threatening with two on and one out. 

Simmons took advantage of a throwing error by the Blue Jay shortstop to put Bott on first and load the bases with one out for senior first base Dom Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.). Ortiz grounded to third to drive in Del Vacchio with the first Sharks run of the night. Sharon escaped without any more damage with a called strike three to end the frame with a pair of runners on base. 

First year starting pitcher Maddie Castigliego (Bristol, R.I.) (11-6) took the loss for Simmons, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks, before sophomore Hailey Yabroudy (Amherst, N.H.) tossed the final five and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up a run on six hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts.