Wheaton swept by Clark on Senior Day, awaits NEWMAC Tournament fate
NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College softball team suffered a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader sweep at the hands of Clark University on Saturday during Senior Day at Clark Field, falling by 2-1 and 8-4 finals. Each team was completing its league slate, as the losses dropped the Lyons to 15-23 overall and 6-10 in the NEWMAC. The Cougars are 16-16 and 10-6.
Wheaton currently sits sixth in the conference standings, as the top six squads qualify for the tournament, but the Lyons' postseason fate now hinges upon Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) twinbill against visiting Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on Monday. One loss by WPI would allow Wheaton to clinch sixth place, but an WPI sweep would necessitate that tiebreaking procedures be used to determine the sixth seed.
In the opener, Clark used a two-out rally in the seventh to snap a 1-1 tie. With two down and no one on, junior Joanna Clark (Windham, ME/Windham) singled before freshman Maureen Coakley (Worcester, MA/Holy Name Central Catholic) doubled her home. Junior Lauren Blake (Oakland, ME/Messalonskee) followed with a single, but Wheaton senior center fielder Brady Benton (Concord, NH/Concord) gunned down Coakley trying to score from second, preserving the one-run game. The Lyons were retired 1-2-3 in the home half.
The visitors went on top in the second inning, as junior Melissa Traft (Milton, MA/Milton) led off the frame with a home run. The next batter reached on a three-base error, but junior hurler Andrea Bagley (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro) was able to work out of the jam unscathed. She yielded only two hits in the opening four innings and fanned the side in the fourth frame. In the bottom of the inning, senior Stacey Kelleher (Brockton, MA/Brockton) drilled her fourth home run of the year, knotting the game on Wheaton's first hit.
Bagley suffered the hard-luck loss, allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and just one walk. In addition to Kelleher's dinger, freshman Emily O'Connell (Kennebunk, ME/Kennebunk) singled.
Freshman Meghan Lennon (Charlton, MA/Shepherd Hill Regional) yielded just two hits in six frames for Clark, walking two without striking anyone out, before sophomore Sarah Carter (Worcester, MA/Saint Peter-Marian) worked a perfect seventh for the save. Blake, Clark and Coakley each had two hits, combining for six of their team's seven knocks.
Wheaton's late rally in game two went for naught, as Clark's final five runs were all unearned. Blake, Clark and Coakley each picked up an RBI during the opening three frames, and another run made it 4-0 in the fifth. After putting two runners on with no one out in the second but not scoring, the Lyons pushed a run across in the fifth, as freshman Mary Fay (Stoughton, MA/Cardinal Spellman) singled before coming in on O'Connell's two-out knock.
Clark pushed its lead to 6-1 in the sixth, but sophomore Katy Salka (Ayer, MA/Ayer) swatted her first collegiate home run, a three-run shot that scored Benton and Kelleher, to make it a two-run game in the home half. However, Blake and Coakley provided RBI doubles in the seventh, and Wheaton senior Lynn Cotto (Brookfield, CT/Brookfield) was stranded in the bottom of the frame after leading off with a single.
Bagley yielded three runs on four hits in three frames before being relieved by freshman Lesley Warn (Portland, ME/Deering), who did not allow an earned run during her four innings. Salka finished 2-for-3.
Carter allowed three earned runs during a complete-game outing, Coakley was 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBI, and Blake finished with three hits and two RBI.