NORTON, Mass. - Sophomore first baseman Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass.) powered a two-run homer over the left centerfield fence and freshman pitcher Allison Baker (Orange, Conn.) hurled a complete-game, five hitter to lift the Wheaton College softball team to a split with Springfield College in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener for both clubs this afternoon at Clark Field. The Lyons captured the opener 3-1, while the Pride stormed back to win the nightcap 12-0.
Roy reached safely in two of her three appearances at the plate to pace the Wheaton (9-6, 1-1) offensive attack. Senior third baseman Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn.) and freshman designated player Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass.) each went 1-for-3 with a run scored as the Lyons needed just six hits to snap Springfield's (7-5, 1-1) four-game winning streak.
The Pride cracked the scoring column in the top of the first inning by sandwiching a pair of singles between two consecutive fielder's choices. Senior catcher Liz Milly (Marion, N.Y.) gave the visitors the early advantage with a single to centerfield.
Wheaton responded with a two-out rally in the bottom half of the second. Hunt registered the hosts first hit of the contest through the left side of the infield. Roy blasted a frozen rope over the left centerfield fence to post her first home run of the campaign, and give the Lyons a lead they would not relinquish.
Wheaton extended its advantage in the third, when senior shortstop Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass.) drove in her team-leading 12th RBI to score Rocha from second. Rocha singled down the left field line and swiped second to create the scoring opportunity.
Baker would make the Lyons' advantage stand up as the rookie right hander dominated Springfield between the second and sixth frames. She retired 17 of the 18 hitters she faced between those respective innings, including setting the side down in order three times.
The Pride would not go quietly in the seventh, as Springfield sent seven batters to the plate. With one out, the visitors' strung together back-to-back hits to place the first Pride runner in scoring position since the opening frame. Springfield loaded the bases with two outs on a walk, but Baker induced a ground ball to Hunt to seal Wheaton's fourth consecutive victory.
Baker did not allow the Pride to register an earned run to raise her individual record to 5-2. She was economical --throwing a strike on 48 of her 71 attempts--in limiting Springfield to just five hits. Baker induced 15 ground ball outs, while also recording a punch out. Her counterpart, freshman Ashley Marino (Harrison, N.Y.), was saddled with the loss after allowing three runs on six hits in six innings of work.
In the nightcap, the Pride belted three home runs, including a pair of two-run shots, to defeat their hosts in five innings. The top of the Springfield order set the tone for the visitors, combining to register five of the 12 hits and post five RBI.
The Pride used the long ball to race out to a 6-0 advantage after the second frame. Senior first baseman Amanda Novak (Cos Cob, Conn.) launched a two-run homer in the first inning, while sophomore shortstop Kelly Blake (Watertown, Conn.) repeated the feat in the second stanza.
Junior third basemen Tess Gagliano (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) stretched the Springfield advantage to 7-0 in the fourth with a solo blast, while the Pride added five insurance runs in the fifth to seal the win.
Springfield freshman Jen Joseph (Stamford, Conn.) limited Wheaton to just two hits over five innings of work to earn the victory. Baker suffered the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits in just two innings. Junior Lesley Warn (Portland, Maine) also gave up six runs in three innings of relief.
Wheaton returns to the diamond at 3 p.m. on March 22, when the Lyons host Bridgewater State University for a non-conference doubleheader.