WINTER GARDEN, Fla. – The Simmons College softball team was defeated by Wheaton College (Ill.), 12-1, in five innings this afternoon at the 2016 Spring Games in Winter Garden, Fla. at Foundation Academy Field 4. The Thunder improve to 7-3 on the season, while the Sharks fall to 3-2. The game was halted after five innings due to the NCAA's eight-run mercy rule.
Wheaton took advantage of five Simmons errors and outhit the Sharks, 9-2, while scoring 11 runs in the first two innings of play. The Thunder's 7-8-9 hitters combined to go 6-8 with six runs batted in and six runs scored.
First year designated player Alexandra Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) led Simmons, going 1-2 with a run batted in and senior shortstop Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) went 1-2 with a single. Caracciolo's consecutive game streak without an error came to an end at 51 games when she made a miscue in the first inning. It was her first error since April 11, 2014 and the first in 226 straight chances. Her streak at second base is still intact, though at 49 games.
First year southpaw Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) (2-1) suffered her first collegiate loss, yielding 11 runs (four earned) on six hits and two walks, while setting down a batter on strikes in one and two-thirds innings of work.
Senior left fielder Alyssa Leonard (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) tripled, knocked in five runs and scored a run to lead the Thunder. Junior center fielder Katie Yergler (Winter Park, Fla.) was 1-4 with her first home run of the year to bring home three runs and finished with two runs scored and a stolen base. Senior first baseman Lyndsey Pritchard (San Diego, Calif.) was 3-3 with a run batted in and two runs scored from the eight hole.
Senior right hander Katie Thornton (Carol Stream, Ill.) (3-2) earned the victory for Wheaton, hurling four innings and allowing one run on just one hit and one walk, while striking out five. Junior pitcher Abby Butler (Springfield, Pa.) allowed one hit in an inning of scoreless relief to close out the contest.
The Thunder broke the game open with nine runs in the bottom of the second inning to take an 11-0 advantage. Yergler smoked a liner down the right field line and scampered around the bases for a three-run inside-the-park home run, while Leonard launched a three-run triple to center field to key the frame for Wheaton. Pritchard also drove in a run in the inning with a single for one of six unearned runs in the inning.
Simmons got on the board in the top of the third when junior catcher Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine) worked a full count walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Moleski plated Gauvin with a ground out to first to make it 11-1.
The Thunder tacked on one more run in the fourth when sophomore shortstop Megan Neuhaus (Wilmette, Ill.) reached on an error with two outs, went to third on a single from Pritchard and scored on a Leonard single to center field to give Wheaton a 12-1 cushion.
The Thunder cracked the scoring column in the first inning when two runs scored with two outs on an error.
The Sharks take on University of Northwestern (Minn.) at 7:00 p.m. tonight at the National Training Center in Clermont, Fla., while Wheaton returns to action on March 17 when it heads to Aurora, Ill. for a 3:00 p.m. twinbill with Aurora University.