LEESBURG, Fla. – Junior Christie Bott (Seaford, N.Y.) hit a grand slam and set a school record with five runs in a game, while senior outfielder Lauren Del Vacchio (Murrieta, Calif.) collected multiple hits in both games for the Simmons University softball team. The Sharks opened their season with a 19-10 win over Pennsylvania State University-Berks, before bowing to Defiance College, 4-2, in the second game today at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex in Leesburg, Fla. as part of the Spring Games. Simmons is now 1-1 on the season, while Penn State-Berks is 0-3 and Defiance is 3-3.
Bott finished the day going 3-7 with a grand slam home run, five runs scored and a pair of doubles for the Sharks, while Del Vacchio was 6-9 with three runs batted in and two runs scored and was 4-5 in the season opener vs. Penn State-Berks. Senior outfielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) was 4-9 with a double, four RBI and two runs scored and sophomore shortstop Allie Mulhern (Westford, Mass.) contributed with three hits, including a double, four runs scored and a pair of RBI.
Simmons erupted for 13 runs late in game one, including 10 runs in the top of the seventh vs. Penn State-Berks to put the game out of reach for the Sharks. Mulhern cracked a single to lead off the sixth and stole second to set up an RBI single through the right side off the bat of Hennessey to tie the game at 7-7. Junior second base Marissa Santoro (Franklin, Mass.) knocked in a pair of runs with a single through the left side to plate junior Emily Barbella (Littleton, Mass.), who pinch ran for Hennessey, and Bott, who was intentionally walked, with the go-ahead runs to give Simmons a 9-7 lead.
The Sharks continued to swing the bats in the seventh, sending 14 batters to the plate with 10 of them scoring. Bott highlighted the frame with a line-drive grand slam over the center field fence, while Del Vacchio drove in three runs with a pair of singles in the inning. Mulhern also registered multiple hits in the inning with a double and single to knock in two runs. Hennessey capped the offensive explosion with a two-run double to give Simmons its 18th and 19th runs of the game and give her three hits for the game as one of seven Sharks with multiple knocks in the contest.
Penn State-Berks used the long ball for its offense in the bottom of the first inning, scoring four times on a pair of two-run home runs. Junior third base Cori Dickinson (Pottstown, Pa.) struck a one-out single and junior first base Bri Smith (Pottstown, Pa.) blasted a homer over the center field fence to put the Nittany Lions on the board. Sophomore Erin Spatz (Sinking Spring, Pa.) followed with a double and came around to score on a homer to center off the bat of senior catcher Nikki Wild (Langhorne, Pa.) to give Penn State a 4-0 lead.
The Sharks rallied for four runs on four hits and a walk in the top of the second inning. Sophomore third base Alex Morang (Windham, Maine) pushed a bunt to the right side with the bases loaded to score the team's first run, followed by consecutive run-scoring singles from sophomore right fielder Danielle Carson (Ashland, Mass.) and Del Vacchio. Hennessey knotted the game at 4-4 when she roped a run-scoring single up the middle.
Simmons took its first lead of the contest in the top of the third after Bott cracked her second leadoff double in as many innings and scored on an error to give the Sharks a 5-4 edge. The Nittany Lions got the run back in the bottom of the frame when Smith led off with her second home run of the game to tie the score at 5-5.
Simmons reclaimed the lead with a run in the fifth when Bott reached on a two-base error to lead off the inning and later scored on a two-out single to right center from Morang to give the Sharks a 6-5 edge. Penn State went deep again in the bottom of the inning when Smith hit her third homer in as many at-bats to lead off the frame and sophomore pinch-hitter Amaya Phillips (Myerstown, Pa.) crushed a two-out pitch over the left-center field fence to give the Nittany Lions a 7-6 lead.
Penn State tried to make up the 12-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh with three unearned runs, before Simmons got the game's final out after 29 runs and 33 hits were put on the board by both teams. The Nittany Lions received consecutive two-out run-producing singles from sophomore center fielder Susan Duncan (Phoenixville, Pa.), sophomore shortstop Veronica Maryanski (Boyertown, Pa.) and junior left fielder Hunter Hart (Langhorne, Pa.).
Senior right-hander Alex Soqui (Acushnet, Mass.) earned the game one victory, allowing three unearned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out a batter in two and a third innings of relief for Simmons. Junior relief pitcher Peyton Morrell (Langhorne, Pa.) (0-1) was saddled with the loss for Penn State, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks in three innings of work.
Smith led the Nittany Lions at the plate with three homers and four RBI, while Wild was 2-4 with two runs batted in and a pair of runs scored. Phillips and Hart each finished with two hits, including a double and added an RBI each.
Game two wasn't decided until the fifth inning when Defiance rallied for a pair of runs in the top of the frame to break a 2-2 tie and take a 4-2 lead that held up as the winning margin.
The Sharks threatened in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third and no outs, but junior southpaw Taylor Biggs (Cincinnati, Ohio) closed the door in relief for the Yellow Jackets, striking out all three batters she faced to pick up the save.
First year right fielder Marissa Roberts (Warren, Ohio) led off the top of the fifth with a single down the right field line and senior center fielder Arianna Richards (Covington, Ohio) beat out a bunt to put a pair of runners on base without an out for the Yellow Jackets. Sophomore catcher Sophie Moller (Pickerington, Ohio) later lined a two-run single off the Sharks' third baseman's glove to provide the game's winning runs.
Simmons scored twice in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead. The Sharks loaded the bases, before sophomore catcher Shannon McMahon (El Cajon, Calif.) stroked a two-run single to left center in her first at-bat of the season to give the Sharks 2-0 lead. Senior starting pitcher Sydney Zeuch (Mason, Ohio) settled down for Defiance and yielded just four hits over the next five and two-thirds innings, before exiting the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Yellow Jackets matched Simmons in the third with two runs of their own. Sophomore left fielder Makenzie Wilson (Haskins, Ohio) reached on an infield single and raced around the bases on a triple down the right field line off the bat of sophomore third base Kalin Hubble (Anderson, Ind.) to cut their deficit to 2-1. Senior Brooke Gostomsky (Covington, Ohio) followed with a double to the left center gap to plate Hubble with the tying run to make it 2-2.
Zeuch improved to 2-0 on the season for Defiance, allowing just two runs (one earned) five hits and a pair of walks to go with five strikeouts. Soqui (2-2) was saddled with the loss, giving up four runs on 10 hits, while fanning two batters in seven complete innings.
The Sharks return to action tomorrow when they take on Nebraska Wesleyan University on Field 5 at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex in Leesburg, Fla. at 10:30 a.m. in the first of two games on the day.