March 14, 2011

Salka powers Wheaton attack as Lyons earn a split

KISSIMMEE, Fla.- Senior shortstop Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass.) went a combined 5-for-7 with five runs batted in to lead the Wheaton College softball team to a 1-1 mark this afternoon at the 2011 Spring Rebel Games in Kissimmee, Fla. The Lyons pounded out a season-best 14 hits to cruise to a 13-2 victory over Geneva College (Pa.) in the second contest, while falling to Montclair State University, 6-2, in the opener.

Salka led three other Wheaton (3-3) student-athletes with at least one hit in each game. Classmate second baseman Marissa Hobocan (Shelton, Conn.) went 4-for-7 with three RBI, while senior catcher Nicole DeRosa (Greenwich, Conn.) and sophomore first baseman Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass.) hit safely in each of the two contests. Freshman designated player Ashley Brillon (Attleboro, Mass.) posted a 3-for-4 appearance at the plate against the Golden Tornadoes.

The Lyons took command of the contest in the first two innings, racing out to a 9-1 advantage. The first two Wheaton hitters reached safely and Salka followed suit by driving a single through the right-side of the infield to plate the first run of the afternoon. The Lyons' were able to take advantage of a fielding miscue by a Geneva infielder to score a pair of runs. Brillon made the defensive error even more costly by lacing a run-scoring single through the left side to drive in the fourth run of the frame.

Wheaton continued to apply the offensive pressure in the second inning, when the Lyons registered five hits and were able to capitalize on three Geneva errors. Sophomore center fielder Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn.) led off the frame with a single before the Golden Tornadoes committed three consecutive errors that led to a run and put runners on the corners. Hobocan delivered a two-run single up the middle with the bases loaded to balloon the Lyons' advantage to 9-1.

Wheaton put the game out of reach in the fourth inning with a four-run surge. Senior right fielder Rachel Merrick (Methuen, Mass.) powered a two-run bases loaded single into centerfield, while Salka recorded her third RBI with an opposite field single.

Junior right hander Lesley Warn (Portland, Maine) raised her individual record to 2-1 with the complete-game victory. The Portland, Maine product allowed just two earned runs, only one of which was earn, on five hits, while striking out a season-high four batters. Senior pitcher Ariel Lilly (Mansfield, Ohio) took the loss, surrendering nine runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits in three innings of work.

In the opener, the Red Hawks (2-1) scored four runs in the second and added a pair in the fourth to jump out to a six-run advantage. The Lyons began to solve freshman pitcher Alex Hill (Parsippany, N.J.) in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman left fielder Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass.) started the frame off with a single to centerfield and advanced to second on a defensive miscue. Junior center fielder Amanda Poplaski (North Reading Mass.) laced a single to put runners in scoring position for the hot-hitting Salka. Salka raised her personal hitting streak to four games by drilling a two-run double to left-centerfield.

Wheaton would not go quietly in its final at-bat as the Lyons put the tying run in the batter's box. With one-out, DeRosa singled to centerfield and senior third baseman Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn.) followed with a single through the left side of the infield. Montclair State temporarily halted the rally by inducing an infield pop-up, but Hobocan worked a walk to load the bases. The Red Hawks spoiled Wheaton's comeback bid by getting the No. 8 batter to fly out to centerfield.

Freshman Allison Baker (Orange, Conn.) was saddled with the loss to see her record dip to 1-2. The righty surrendered six runs, only four of which were earned, on nine hits, while recording three strike outs. Baker finished strong by retiring the final eight batters she faced. Hill allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings of work to earn the victory. Sophomore Jamie Miller (Spotswood, N.J.) pitched two innings of scoreless relief for the Red Hawks.

Wheaton returns to the diamond at 1 p.m. on March 14, when the Lyons face off against William Patterson University. Approximately four hours later, Wheaton will square off against McDaniel College (Md.).

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