Rocha helps Lyons salvage split with Bears

NORTON, Mass. - Freshman utility player Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass.) went a combined 3-for-6 with a home run in each contest to help the Wheaton College softball team salvage a split with non-conference rival Bridgewater State University this afternoon at Clark Field. The visiting Bears captured the opener 13-6, while the Lyons pounded out 14 hits to take the nightcap 9-1 in just five innings.

Rocha was just one of five student-athletes to register a hit in each contest. Wheaton (10-6) senior designated player Nicole DeRosa (Greenwich, Conn.) turned in a combined 4-for-6 effort at the plate with two RBI, while sophomore first baseman Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass.) went a combined 4-for-7 with a RBI. Senior shortstop Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass.) and freshman catcher Ashley Vertente (Fairhaven, Mass.) each recorded multiple hits in the second game as the Lyons matched their single-game high for hits with 14.

In the nightcap, Wheaton scored seven of its nine runs with two outs. The Lyons strung together three consecutive hits with two outs to open the scoring in the first. Senior right fielder Rachel Merrick (Methuen, Mass.) started the rally with a single through the left side of the infield, while DeRosa followed suit with a single up the box. Senior third baseman Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn.) delivered the decisive strike of the afternoon by driving her second home run of the season over the centerfield fence.  DeRosa laced a two-out double in the second stanza to extend Wheaton's advantage to 4-0.

Wheaton erupted four five insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth to put the contest out of reach. Rocha led off the inning with a home run to left field, while Salka singled through the left side of the infield to chase starting pitcher sophomore Courtney Gregoire (Dartmouth, Mass.). Freshman Chelsie Babcock (Wilmington, Mass.) was able to retire two of the next three batters she faced, but the Lyons recorded four consecutive hits to account for three runs. Sophomore centerfielder Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn.) capped the scoring with a two-run single to her counterpart.

Freshman pitcher Allison Baker (Orange, Conn.) dominated the Bears (6-8) throughout her five innings of work, allowing just one unearned run on a hit. The rookie right-hander set the tone early by retiring the first six hitters she faced. Baker limited Bridgewater State to just one base runner in the fourth and fifth frames to set down seven of her final nine batters.

Wheaton cracked the scoring column in the bottom of the first in the opener, but the Bears capitalized on two Lyon defensive miscues to score eight runs, seven of which were unearned, in the top of the second. Sophomore third baseman Jennifer Shaw (Brockton, Mass.) belted a three-run homer to punctuate the inning.

Rocha led off the third with a home run to right centerfield as Wheaton began to mount its comeback. The Lyons sandwiched a pair of runs in the third and fifth between a Merrick RBI in the fourth to whittle their deficit to 8-6.

Bridgewater State responded to the hosts' surge by scoring four runs with two outs. Pinch hitter Shanna Lathrop (Hopedale, Mass.) delivered a two-run single to left centerfield, while sophomore outfielder Melissa Harmon (Shrewsbury, Mass.) provided the final margin of victory with a two-run double into centerfield.

Bears' sophomore starting pitcher Meghan Dunn (Colchester, Conn.) earned the complete-game victory by allowing six runs, four of which were earned, on nine hits, while striking out a pair. Her counterpart, junior Lesley Warn (Portland, Maine), gave up six earned runs on 14 hits, while punching out four.

Wheaton (10-6, 1-1) returns to action on March 26, when the Lyons travel to Coast Guard Academy (14-0, 2-0) for a NEWMAC doubleheader. Bridgewater State will host Babson College at 3 p.m. on March 24.   

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