April 6, 2011

Lyons drop pair at league foe Babson, lose opener on walk-off homer

BABSON PARK, Mass. - The Wheaton College softball team dropped a pair of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) games at Babson College on Wednesday afternoon, as the Lyons endured 5-3 and 6-1 setbacks at Alumni Field.

Wheaton dips to 13-12 overall and 4-6 in league play, while the Beavers improved to 13-13 and 5-5.

After twice coming back from deficits to either tie the game or take the lead, the Lyons knotted the opener at three heading into the last half of the seventh, only to see the hosts deliver a walk-off homer for the dramatic win.  Wheaton racked up 12 hits, with seniors Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) and Katy Salka (Ayer, Mass./Ayer) each going 3-for-4.  Classmate Rachel Merrick (Methuen, Mass./Central Catholic) and sophomore Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) had two hits apiece.

Freshman Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) was handed the loss, giving up five earned runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts and a walk.  Sophomore Megan Brain (Pompton Plains, N.J./Pequannock Township) earned the win with six strikeouts and two walks.  The Beavers had 11 hits as a team, as their first four batters went a combined 9-for-15.  Junior Nicole Latini (East Bridgewater, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) delivered the clutch seventh-inning blast, as she finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run.

Trailing 1-0 after one, Wheaton tacked on single runs in the second and fifth to take a 2-1 edge.  The lead proved to be short-lived, as the hosts responded with two runs in the home half of the fifth.  Hunt's one-out single in the seventh made the score 3-3 before Latini's blast over the right center fence ended the game.

In the nightcap, Babson jumped on top early, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 6-1 lead after pushing three runs across in each the first and third innings.  Wheaton mustered just five hits, with Merrick having two of them while firing two shutout frames as a relief pitcher.  Junior Lesley Warn (Portland, Maine/Deering) was saddled with the loss, yielding three earned runs with four walks in just a third of an inning.

For the Beavers, who finished with six hits, junior Kayla Davis (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while freshman Tess Rubega (Norwich, Conn./Norwich Free Academy) collected just her second win with one strikeout and a walk. 

Wheaton accounted for two of its hits in the opening frame, as Merrick and senior Marissa Hobocan (Shelton, Conn./Saint Joseph) led off with back-to-back singles.  Two fielder's choices eventually brought Merrick around to score, with Hunt picking up the RBI. 

In the bottom of the first, four straight Babson walks knotted the game before the Beavers scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.  Babson added a third run on a fielder's choice RBI off the bat of Davis.  The hosts strung together four hits to plate three additional runs in the third, while the Lyons put just one runner in scoring position over the final four innings, as Rubega retired her final eight batters in a row.

Wheaton will look to bounce back on Friday with a pair of road conference games at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at 3:00 p.m.

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