BOSTON, Mass. -- Simmons Softball (18-8, 11-5 GNAC) split with the Mount Ida College Mustangs (6-16, 5-9 GNAC) falling 2-1 in a ten-inning showdown in game one but found their bats in game two for an 11-0 shutout in five innings a Great Northeast Athletic Conference doubleheader Sunday afternoon at UMass Boston.
Game One: Mount Ida 2, Simmons 1 (10 innings)
Mount Ida took a one run lead in the top of the third inning as Kaitlyn Muhlenforth led off with a single up the middle. Megan Hall advanced Muhlenforth to second off a bunt and Michele MacDonald followed suit with a bunt to load the bases with no outs. All three runners advanced on a pass ball to give the Mustangs the 1-0 lead. Simmons pitcher Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.) struck out the next two batters as Mount Ida had two left on base.
Simmons junior Jen Field (Windham, Maine) singled to centerfield to start off the Sharks and Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) hit a stellar bunt and beat out the throw to first for runners at first and second. Emily Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) drilled an RBI single through the right side to knot the game at one.
The Mustangs loaded the bases in the top of the seventh as Gina Onorevole reached first on an error and advanced to second on a single by Muhlenforth. MacDonald singled to left but the Sharks were able to make the final out to keep the game tied.
In the bottom half of the inning, first year Emma D'Arpino (Johnston, R.I.) singled down the right line and advanced to second on a Backhaus walk but the Mustangs defense made the necessary outs to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th with Muhlenforth on second, MacDonald singled to give the Mustangs runners on first and third. A pass ball by the Sharks allowed Muhlenforth to score, giving Mount Ida the go ahead run. Backhaus struck out Medici for out number two and Shannon McArthur grounded out to third but the pressure was on. Simmons put Backhaus on second and Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) walked but the Sharks were unable to capitalize and the Mustangs pulled out the win, 2-1.
Backhaus fell to 9-4 on the season, pitching all ten innings for seven hits and nine strikeouts. Nicole Handzel moved to 5-9 with 11 strikeouts, four walks and giving up seven hits.
Game Two: Simmons 11, Mount Ida 0 (5 innings)
The Sharks opened the floodgates in game two, scoring five runs in the first inning. H. Cunningham led off with a single up the middle and then scored as Caracciolo doubled down the left line. E. Cunningham scored Caracciolo on single up the middle and advanced to second on a ground out by Heather White (Westfield, Mass.). First year Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) walked to give the Sharks runners at first and second before Christina Mulcahy (Cambridge, Mass.) reached on a Mustangs error and then advanced to second. E. Cunningham scored on the play. Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) singled through the left side to score Rastello and then out-ran a pickle as Mulcahy stole home to give the Sharks a 5-0 lead.
Simmons doubled their lead to ten in the second as Rastello singled to score E. Cunningham and H. Cunningham. Mulcahy reached on a Mustangs error as White scored for third base and Guillotte added her second hit of the day to score Mulcahy and Rastello.
In the bottom of the third, E. Cunningham hit a RBI double to the centerfield fence to score Caracciolo for the Sharks final run of the game. The Mustangs had runners at first and third in the top of the fourth but were unable to convert as the Sharks rolled to an 11-0 win.
Danielle LeBlanc (Templeton, Mass.) picked up the win for the Sharks, giving up four hits and recording three strikeouts, while Muhlenforth took the loss for the Mustangs.
Simmons returns to action on Wednesday, Apr. 16 when they host Fenway rival Emmanuel College at 3:00/5:00 PM at Mount Ida College. The Mustangs host Albertus Magnus on Apr. 14 at 3:00/5:00 PM in more GNAC action.