CLERMONT, Fla. – The Simmons College softball team dropped a pair of games to cap the opening day of its season at the 2015 Spring Games at National Training Center in Clermont, Fla., falling to Monmouth College (Ill.), 4-3, in the eighth inning and 3-2 to Hood College. The Sharks fall to 0-3 on the season, while Monmouth improves to 2-1 and Hood evens its record at 1-1.
Junior second baseman Johnna Schultz (Spring Valley, Ill.) hit a walk off two-run single to the center field fence to give the Monmouth the victory in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Senior first baseman Taylor Smith (Silvis, Ill.) began the eighth inning on second base as part of the international tie-breaker rules for extra innings and later came around to score following a single from sophomore third baseman Morgan Throop (Springfield, Ill.) and an RBI base knock from sophomore left fielder Kirstyn Ozga (Sparland, Ill.) to pull the Fighting Scots to within 3-2. Schultz plated the winning runs one out later with a single over the Simmons center fielder's head.
The Sharks broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth when sophomore designated player Emma D'Arpino (Johnston, R.I.) began the frame on second base and scored when sophomore Kat Guillotte (New Bedford, Mass.) reached on an error. Simmons later loaded the bases following consecutive singles from senior shortstop Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) and junior second baseman Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.). Junior center fielder Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) gave the Sharks a 3-1 margin with a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Guillotte.
Monmouth got on the board first when sophomore shortstop Maggie Hayes (Midlothian, Ill.) smacked a two-out single to give the Fighting Scots their first baserunner of the night, stole second and scored when Smith reached on an error. Simmons knotted the game at 1-1 when Guillotte worked a leadoff walk, senior left fielder Jen Field (Windham, Maine) reached on a bunt single, before both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch to set up a run-scoring sacrifice fly to left field from Caracciolo in the top of the sixth inning.
First year Liz Hippen (Toulon, Ill.) went the distance to earn her first collegiate win for Monmouth, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk, while striking out 14 batters. Ozga finished the contest with a pair of singles, a walk, a run batted in and a run scored.
Tough-luck losing rookie starting pitcher Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits and a walk for the Sharks. Cunningham finished with two hits to lead the squad.
First year pitcher Kayli Paugh (Elkridge, Md.) gave Hood the eventual winning runs with a two-run home run to center field and also threw a complete game, yielding just two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks, while striking out eight to earn her first collegiate victory.
First year shortstop Kristen Scott (Rockville, Md.) led off with a single in the bottom of the fifth before circling the bases on the Paugh blast to give Hood a 3-2 lead it would not relinquish.
Hood put the first run of the game on the board in the first inning when sophomore left fielder Kaylee Krietz (Thurmont, Md.) drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on a two-out double off the bat of junior third baseman Ashley Fourcade (Rockville, Md.) to give the Blazers a 1-0 edge. Simmons took the lead in the third when D'Arpino and Cunningham worked back-to-back walks to open the frame and White later singled to load the bases. Senior first baseman Jess Uschmann (Feeding Hills, Mass.) reached on a fielder's choice to bring home D'Arpino, while Cunningham was right behind her following an error in the infield to give the Sharks a 2-1 margin.
Krietz reached base twice with a pair of walks and stole two bases for Hood, while Uschmann singled in the contest for Simmons to give her a pair of hits on the night.
The Sharks return to action tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. when they take on Westfield State University at Foundation Academy in Winter Park, Fla., while Monmouth plays Wheaton College (Ill.) at the same complex at 1:00 p.m. and Hood plays Lake Forest College at 1:00 p.m. on the same site.