Baker helps Wheaton salvage split

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Freshman pitcher Allison Baker (Orange, Conn.) hurled her second complete-game shutout of the season this afternoon to lead the Wheaton College softball team to an 8-0 victory over McDaniel College (Md.) at the 2011 Spring Rebel Games in Kissimmee, Fla. The Lyons fell to Utica College 10-2 in the opener.

Baker was in complete control throughout her six innings of work, recording a strike on 71.1 percent (69-for-96) of her attempts. She scattered three hits and did not issue a walk, while striking out a season-high seven hitters. Baker limited the Green Terror's (3-7) scoring opportunities, allowing McDaniel to move into scoring position just twice. Baker set down nine of her final 10 hitters to earn her third victory (3-2) of the season.

Wheaton (6-4) featured a well-balanced offensive attack as eight of the starting nine registered at least one hit. Senior third baseman Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn.) powered the 13-hit attack with a 2-for-3 showing at the plate with two runs batted in and a pair of runs scored. Senior right fielder Rachel Merrick (Methuen, Mass.) and sophomore first baseman Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass.) each chipped in with two hits and an RBI, while junior centerfielder Amanda Poplaski (North Reading, Mass.) turned in a 2-for-3 performance with a pair of runs scored. The Lyons' have reached double digits in hits in four of their past six games.

Wheaton gave Baker all the support she would need in the bottom of the second inning. The first two Lyon hitters reached safely and were pushed into scoring position with a one-out sacrifice bunt. Sophomore left fielder Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn.) cracked the scoring column with a RBI single up the middle. Wheaton was able to capitalize on a Green Terror defensive error to jump out to an early 2-0 advantage.

The Lyons continued to apply the offensive pressure, scoring three runs on four hits. With one out and a runner on first, Poplaski registered her second base knock of the contest. Merrick and shortstop Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass.) followed suit with an RBI single. Hunt made the Green Terror's second defensive miscue prove costly with a run-scoring single to right field to balloon Wheaton's lead to 5-0.

The Lyons put the contest out of reach in the sixth with three insurance markers. Roy and freshman designated player Ashley Brillon (Attleboro, Mass.) each drove in a run to seal the win.

In the opener, Wheaton scored its only runs of the contest in the top of the third. Poplaski tripled down the left field line to drive in freshman shortstop Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass.). The Lyons posted their second run of the frame when a Pioneer infielder couldn't handle a throw from starting pitcher Heather Kingsbury.

Utica (5-2) responded with 10 unanswered runs between the third and fourth innings. The Pioneers pounded out six hits to plate seven runs in the third, while taking advantage of three Wheaton errors to post the final margin of victory.

Junior starting pitcher junior Lesley Warn (Portland, Maine) surrendered just three earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out one in three and a third innings of work. Merrick pitched two thirds of an inning of scoreless relief.

The Lyons' conclude their southern trip with a doubleheader on March 18. Wheaton attempts to complete a season sweep over William Paterson at 3 p.m. The Lyons face Skidmore College approximately two hours later in their Florida finale.

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