Wheaton blanks Wellesley in opener, falls a run short during game two

NORTON, Mass. - Wheaton College softball freshman hurler Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) fired a four-hit shutout in Sunday's opener before a seventh-inning rally fell just short in game two, as the Lyons split a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) twinbill with visiting Wellesley College at Clark Field.

Wheaton won game one by a 3-0 count before dropping a 7-6 decision in the afternoon's second contest.  The Lyons are now 11-9 and 2-4, while the Blue, which opened its league slate today, is 8-4.

Baker allowed four harmless singles while fanning five without a walk.  The Lyons managed just four hits themselves, with three hits and a trio of walks coming in the opening frame, as the hosts took advantage of two Wellesley miscues.  Sophomore Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) recorded the inning's lone RBI.

Baker retired 11 batters in a row from the second through fifth innings.  After producing a 1-2-3 sixth inning, Baker ran into trouble in the seventh, as Wellesley put two on with one out.  However, Baker averted further damage by inducing a groundout to second and striking out her final batter. 

Blue sophomore Lauren Goldfarb (Albuquerque, N.M./La Cueva) suffered the loss, fanning four and walking five but not allowing an earned run.  Wheaton senior Marissa Hobocan (Shelton, Conn./Saint Joseph) was the game's lone multiple hitter, as Wellesley finished with four errors.

The Lyons returned the favor in game two, as all but one of the Blue's seven runs went down as being unearned.  Like the opener, the Blue and White took a 3-0 lead after one.  Senior Nicole DeRosa (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich Academy) plated a run, while classmate Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass./Ayer) and DeRosa scored on an illegal pitch and passed ball, respectively.

An RBI single by freshman Sara Del Balzo (Portland, Ore./Sunset) got Wellesley on the board in the third before a three-run blast from senior Brittany Bakacs (Millstone Township, N.J./Allentown) the following inning made the score 4-3.  The home run came with two down and was preceded by an error that would have ended the frame.  Senior Megan Townsend (Saline, Mich./Saline) tacked on an RBI triple to give the Blue a 5-3 edge.

Junior Amanda Poplaski's (North Reading, Mass./North Reading) RBI single in the home half of the fourth made it a one-run game, but the Blue plated a pair of unearned runs in the seventh to push its advantage to 7-4.  Wheaton made things interesting in the bottom half, as Salka's two-run blast brought the Lyons within one with nobody out.  After Goldfarb retired her next two batters, consecutive singles put a runner in scoring position for Wheaton.  However, Goldfarb forced a groundout to second to end the game.

Senior Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law), who had one of the seventh-inning singles, finished with two hits, while Salka scored twice in addition to her two RBI.  Baker was saddled with the loss, going 3.2 innings while giving up five runs, one earned, with eight hits.

For Wellesley, Del Balzo and freshmen Jayne Ellis (Mishawaka, Ind./Penn) and Rachel Harris (Mount Airy, N.C./Mount Airy) had two hits apiece, while Goldfarb collected the complete-game win despite walking six and giving up four earned runs on seven hits.

The Lyons head to non-conference foe Rhode Island College on Thursday for a 4:00 p.m. start.

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