Wheaton splits with two-time defending NEWMAC champ Springfield

Wheaton splits with two-time defending NEWMAC champ Springfield

NORTON, MA- The Wheaton College softball team split with two-time defending New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament champion Springfield College on Saturday, notching a 4-3 victory in the opening contest at Clark Field before dropping an 8-5 decision in the second game. The Lyons are 13-5 overall and 1-3 in the league, while the Pride is 7-8 and 3-1.

Sophomore Amanda Poplaski (North Reading, MA/North Reading) went 3-for-4 with two runs in the opener for the Lyons, who trailed 3-0 midway through the first. Poplaski and classmate Emily O'Connell (Kennebunk, ME/Kennebunk) each doubled, and sophomore Lesley Warn (Portland, ME/Deering) earned the complete-game victory after allowing six hits while striking out four.

Freshman Breann Joyce (Trumbull, CT/Trumbull) was 2-for-2 off the bench for the Pride, while classmate Stef Grande (Manchester, CT/Manchester) took the loss despite allowing only one earned run on eight hits during six innings, fanning four. Springfield committed five errors in the contest.

Seniors Caitlin Corry (Seekonk, MA/Seekonk) and Bryn Worrilow (North Babylon, NY/North Babylon) each had run-scoring singles during the Pride's three-run first inning, but Warn allowed only four base runners during the final six frames. Wheaton knotted the contest in the home half, with each run unearned. Junior Katy Salka (Ayer, MA/Ayer) hit a sacrifice fly before freshman Brittany Calarese's (Norwood, MA/Norwood) two-out RBI single made it 3-3.

After putting runners at the corners with none out during a scoreless second, Wheaton plated the winning run in the fourth. Poplaski singled with two out, stole second and scored when junior Kristen Hunt's (Milford, CT/Jonathan Law) single down the line glanced off the third baseman's glove.

In game two, the Lyons trailed only 3-2 before the teams combined for eight runs in the final inning. Salka was 3-for-4 with three RBI while coming within a triple of the cycle, junior Rachel Merrick (Methuen, MA/Central Catholic) went 2-for-3, and Poplaski scored twice. Warn took the loss.

Worrilow turned in a 3-for-4 showing for Springfield, Corry was 2-for-2 with two RBI while reaching base four times, and sophomore Tess Gagliano (Atlantic Highlands, NJ/Mater Dei) homered. Classmate Megan Fitzgerald (Troy, NY/Tamarac) earned the win, allowing three earned runs on 10 hits and striking out four without walking a batter.

Gagliano's first-inning solo home run was countered by a Salka RBI double in the bottom of the frame, but Springfield plated two more in the fourth before leaving the bases loaded, as right fielder Merrick ended the frame by laying out on a dive toward right center field.

Junior Marissa Hobocan's (Shelton, CT/Saint Joseph) sac fly brought the Lyons within 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth before Springfield pulled away with five in the seventh thanks to five hits. Corry and freshman Melanie Scuderi (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa) each had two-run knocks during the inning. Hunt's RBI single in the home half was followed by a two-run homer from Salka.

Wheaton is back in action on Wednesday for a league doubleheader at Wellesley College, which begins at 3:00 p.m. The Blue was last year's NEWMAC Tournament runner up.