Wheaton takes pair of close games in Florida, downs Amherst and Curry

FORT MYERS, FL- The Wheaton College softball team extended its winning streak to four games by knocking off a pair of fellow Massachusetts foes on Monday, downing Curry College, 3-2 and Amherst College, 3-1 during the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic at the Lee County Sports Complex. The Lyons improved to 5-1, as sophomore Lesley Warn (Portland, ME/Deering) carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the Lord Jeffs while holding them scoreless for the first 6.2 frames.

In Wheaton's opener against Curry, Warn yielded one earned run during a complete-game effort, striking out five and walking two while scattering nine hits, as the Colonels stranded 10. Freshman Megan Roy (North Dighton, MA/Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, junior Nicole DeRosa (Greenwich, CT/Greenwich Academy) went 2-for-3, and classmate Katy Salka (Ayer, MA/Ayer) scored twice. Junior Amanda Peters (East Bridgewater, MA/East Bridgewater) suffered the loss for Curry, allowing seven hits and three earned runs with one strikeout.

Sophomore Valerie Tratner's (Forest Hills, NY/Saint Francis Prep) two-out single through the right side plated Salka in the second inning for the game's first run before the Colonels knotted the game with an unearned run in the third. However, in the top of the following frame, Roy blasted a double off the fence in right center, bringing Salka around with what proved to be the winning run.

With two on and one out in the home half, sophomore center fielder Amanda Poplaski (North Reading, MA/North Reading) made a running catch going toward right center, and with the bases loaded, Warn fanned the final batter. Roy's sixth-inning RBI single provided a much-needed insurance run, as Curry came through with a two-out run in the bottom half before leaving two on. In the seventh, a leadoff single was negated after Warn retired the 4-5-6 hitters on a strikeout and a pair of fly balls.

The Lyons took on Amherst for the first time since 2000, as Warn allowed just the late run on four hits to a squad that pounded out 10 extra-base hits en route to scoring 17 runs during its season opener on Sunday. Warn fanned two and walked three, while seven Wheaton players had one hit apiece, including junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law), who blasted her second home run of the season. Freshman Renee Laflam (Concord, NH/Concord) picked up her first collegiate hit in the seventh, sparking a rally off of Amherst senior Alex Chang-Graham (San Carlos, CA/Castilleja School), who allowed one earned run and struck out seven but took the loss after going 15-3 last spring.

Wheaton left two on base in each the first and second innings but was held off the board, while third baseman Hunt led a strong defensive charge behind Warn, making a diving stop in the second inning before turning in a sliding catch in foul territory in the third. During the first 4.1 innings, Warn yielded no hits while allowing only the leadoff batter in the second inning to reach base.

Amherst broke through in the fifth with its first hit, a single through the left side with one down, and had two on with one out before Warn slammed the door. In the top half of the sixth, Hunt drilled a two-out solo home run well beyond the left center fence to provide the game's first run, and junior right fielder Rachel Merrick (Methuen, MA/Central Catholic) made a running catch to end the home half with a runner at first.

Two more Lyons scampered home on a two-out error in the seventh to provide them breathing room, as Amherst loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half and broke the shutout with a sacrifice fly. With two on and two out, Warn induced a game-ending fielder's choice to Salka at shortstop, who flipped to Hunt.

The Lyons continue a season-opening run of 12 games in six days tomorrow against State University of New York at Oswego at 9:00 a.m. and Worcester State College at 11:00 a.m.

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