March 21, 2010

Win streak ends, Lyons twice stay close at nationally-ranked Coast Guard

NEW LONDON, CT- The Wheaton College softball team opened its northern slate with a pair of narrow setbacks to the nationally-ranked United States Coast Guard Academy, 2-0 and 6-3 on Sunday in each team's league-opening doubleheader.

The Lyons saw their 10-game winning streak snapped in falling to 11-3, while the Bears, last year's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season champion, improved to 9-3 as the 19th-ranked team in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll. Coast Guard qualified for the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

In the opener, sophomore hurler Lesley Warn (Portland, ME/Deering) held the hosts off the board until the fourth inning but eventually took the loss, just her second in 12 decisions this spring. Warn struck out three and walked two while yielding two earned runs on seven hits. Junior Rachel Merrick (Methuen, MA/Central Catholic) finished with two of the six hits for the visitors, who left two runners on base in each the first and second innings.

Coast Guard plated the eventual winning run on senior Carin Sweeney's (Woodbury, MN) two-out single in the fourth before junior Amanda Frederick (Lebanon, OH) singled home another two-out run in the fifth after Warn fanned the first two batters. Frederick finished 2-for-3, while sophomore Hayley Feindel (River Ridge, LA) struck out nine without a walk.

The Lyons scored first in game two, with junior Kristen Hunt (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) tripling with one down in the second inning before freshman Brittany Calarese (Norwood, MA/Norwood) drilled a long two-run homer to left center against Feindel, who yielded just six home runs in 2009 while leading the nation in wins.

However, Coast Guard countered with three runs on three hits and one error in the home half. Three more runs came home on four hits and an error in the fourth, pushing the Bears to a 6-2 lead. Wheaton's first two hitters reached during a scoreless fifth before Merrick led off the seventh with a double and scored on an error. Freshman Amanda Drury (Tolland, CT/Tolland), who finished 3-for-3, then singled to put runners on the corners with no one out, but the Lyons were unable to score further.

Senior Andrea Bagley (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro) took the loss for Wheaton, allowing four earned runs on seven hits, while Warn fired a pair of scoreless innings in relief, yielding one hit. Feindel notched another win, fanning seven with three walks. Freshman Megan Cook (Virginia Beach, VA) was one of three Bears with two hits and also drove home three runs.

The Lyons remain on the road on Tuesday when they face Bridgewater State College for a twinbill that begins at 3:00 p.m.

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