BOSTON, Mass. – First year third baseman Dominique Ortiz (Lawrence, Mass.) collected three hits, including a home run and knocked in three runs to lead the Simmons College softball team in a double-header split with visiting Saint Joseph's College (Maine) this afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action that was played at University of Massachusetts Boston in Dorchester, Mass. The Sharks won the opener, 7-1 before being edged in the second contest, 2-1. Simmons is now 7-10 overall and 1-5 in league play, while the Monks are 11-11 and 6-4.
Sharks pitching held Saint Joseph's to just three runs on seven hits for the day.
Simmons rapped out 11 hits in game one, led by Ortiz, who was 2-3 with three RBI, a run scored, a double and her first collegiate homer. Senior shortstop Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) and senior center fielder Heather White (Westfield, Mass.) each went 2-3 with a walk and two runs scored, including a two-bagger from White. Junior catcher Alison Gauvin (Whitefield, Maine) also had two hits in three at-bats and scored a run.
First year starting pitcher Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) mixed her pitches extremely well to improve to 4-5 on the season for the Sharks after giving up an unearned run on three hits and a walk, while striking out three.
Junior center fielder Carla Tripp (Lovell, Maine) and first year starting pitcher Kristal Smith (Pittston, Maine) each rapped out a double for the Monks. Smith (5-4) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits and two bases on balls, while fanning five batters in five and two-thirds innings pitched.
Simmons put two runs on the board in the bottom of the first to open the scoring in game one. Caracciolo worked a full-count leadoff walk and junior second baseman Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) reached on an error to set up a two-run double off the bat of Reeves to give her squad a 2-0 lead. The Sharks added another run in the third when White doubled to left center and Ortiz traded places with her on a two-out double to right center.
Simmons increased its lead to 5-0 with a pair of runs in the fifth when White singled to left and trotted home ahead of Ortiz' blast over the center field fence.
Saint Joseph's prevented the shutout in the sixth when Tripp roped a leadoff double to left center and later scored on a two-out error. The Sharks tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 7-1 lead. Gauvin stroked a leadoff single to center and later went to third on a sacrifice bunt and a stolen base with Caracciolo, who also singled in the inning, right behind her on second. Gauvin scampered home on a safety squeeze bunt from Rastello that she beat out for an infield single and Caracciolo also scored when the throw home was flipped over the catcher's head.
All three of the runs in the nightcap were scored on ground outs and all within the first three innings of play.
Junior third baseman Mariah Harrison (Buxton, Maine) and senior first baseman Melissa Mayhew (Hiram, Maine) both registered multiple hits for the Monks with each cracking a double. Caracciolo, Ortiz and first year first baseman Alexandra Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) all collected a single for Simmons.
Junior hurler Kylie McFadden (Dover, N.H.) (4-3) tossed the complete-game victory for Saint Joseph's, yielding one run on three hits and a pair of walks to go with seven strikeouts in seven innings. First year pitcher Tori Gomes (Taunton, Mass.) (3-4) was saddled with the loss for the Sharks, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks in seven complete innings.
The Monks took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second of the nightcap. Harrison hit a 3-2 pitch that landed on the chalk down the left field line to result in a leadoff double and advanced to third on a ground out by junior catcher Jennifer Murphy (Andover, Mass.). Harrison scored on another ground out by Smith. Simmons countered with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning. Moleski ripped a leadoff single to left center and Ortiz followed with a single up the middle. Senior pinch runner Amy Maher (Milton, Mass.) advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from first year designated player Mary Martunas (Rutland, Mass.) and scored on a ground out by Gauvin to knot the game at 1-1.
Saint Joseph's scored the deciding run in the third. First year shortstop Meghan Elliott (Blackstone, Mass.) drew a one-out walk and moved to third on an error, before scoring on a Murphy ground out to give the visitors a 2-1 edge.
McFadden did not allow a hit over the final five innings and faced just two Sharks over the minimum to close out the game.
Simmons returns to action on Friday, April 15 when it heads to Newton, Mass. to take on GNAC foe Lasell College in a 3:00 p.m. twinbill, while the Monks travel to Nashua, N.H. on April 16 for a 12:00 p.m. doubleheader with Rivier University.