Wheaton breaks out with pair of big victories over MIT in NEWMAC play

NORTON, MA- Junior Andrea Bagley (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro) yielded two runs over 11 innings, and the Wheaton College softball team scored in nine different frames during its 9-1 and 11-1 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) twinbill sweep of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Friday at Clark Field. Game one was decided in the sixth inning, while the second contest lasted for five frames.

The Lyons snapped a six-game losing streak in improving to 13-17 overall and 4-6 in the league, while the Engineers fell to 5-14 and 2-6. In all, Wheaton banged out 25 hits during the doubleheader, while MIT had six.

Bagley set the tone early in game one, fanning two Engineers in the top of the first before her offense scored twice in the home half. Senior Stacey Kelleher (Brockton, MA/Brockton) ripped a one-out RBI single, and another run scored on a passed ball. An additional unearned run came around in the second before Kelleher and classmate Lynn Cotto (Brookfield, CT/Brookfield) cracked back-to-back run-scoring doubles in the third. Sophomore Rachel Merrick (Methuen, MA/Central Catholic) followed with Wheaton's fourth straight hit of the inning, an RBI base knock that made it 6-0.

After the Lyons scored on an error in the fourth, freshman Amanda Poplaski (North Reading, MA/North Reading) smacked an RBI triple the following inning, plating classmate Emily O'Connell (Kennebunk, ME/Kennebunk). Senior Brady Benton (Concord, NH/Concord) had a walk-off RBI single in the sixth.

Bagley yielded only one hit through the opening 4.2 innings, as sophomore Jessica Oleinik (Ellicott City, MD/Centennial) sent a hard single through the right side and narrowly beat Merrick's throw from right field with two down in the third. Bagley fanned eight batters while walking one and yielding three hits.

Poplaski finished 3-for-3 with two runs and two stolen bases, and Kelleher was 2-for-2 with two RBI. Sophomore Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) went 2-for-3 with two runs, and Benton had a pair of hits.

Freshman Katie Harrington (Lexington, KY/Paul Laurence Dunbar) singled home MIT's run with two down in the fifth in support of classmate Jessica Iacobucci (Phoenixville, PA/The Shipley School), who yielded five earned runs in a complete-game effort. Iacobucci fanned one and walked one.

Wheaton had a pair of big innings in the nightcap, plating four runs in the first and six in the fourth. In the opening frame, Hunt's RBI single put the Lyons on the board before Benton swiped home as part of a double steal. Cotto added a sacrifice fly before another run came around on a miscue.

MIT sophomore Jenny Li (Ellicott City, MD/River Hill) gave her team a lift with a solo home run in the third, but Wheaton countered in the bottom half when freshman Valerie Tratner (Forest Hills, NY/Saint Francis Prep) drove an RBI single through the right side.

All six of the hosts' runs in the fourth were unearned, as two errors aided the cause. Sophomore Katy Salka's (Ayer, MA/Ayer) two-run double was the big blow, while Hunt, Merrick and freshman Staley Salazar (Lakewood, CO/Bear Creek) each provided run-scoring singles.

Merrick went a perfect 3-for-3 with three runs, while Hunt had a 3-for-3 performance while adding two RBI and scoring twice. Tratner was 2-for-3, and sophomore Marissa Hobocan (Shelton, CT/Saint Joseph) scored twice. Bagley fanned four, walked one and allowed three hits.

Oleinik was 2-for-2 for the Engineers, while freshman Abby Van Hook (Framingham, MA/Lexington Christian Academy) suffered the loss, allowing 11 runs, but just four earned, in 3.2 innings.

Wheaton continues NEWMAC play when it travels to Smith College tomorrow for a 2:00 p.m. twinbill.