Lyons extend league winning streak to four, take two at Clark

WORCESTER, Mass. - The Wheaton College softball team extended its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) winning streak to four games thanks to Saturday's doubleheader sweep at Clark University, as the Lyons posted convincing 8-1 and 5-0 victories at O'Brien Field.

Moving into fifth place in the league standings with two conference games left, Wheaton, which has won six of its last eight NEWMAC games, is 17-12 overall and 8-6 in the league.  Clark is 14-12 and 6-6.

Lyon freshman hurler Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) was impressive throughout the afternoon, as she picked up both wins while allowing just one earned run over 12 innings, including firing five shutout frames of one-hit ball in game two.  In the opener, Baker struck out five and walked one with eight hits allowed in a complete game.

Wheaton's offense backed up Baker nicely with 13 hits during game one, as seniors Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) and Rachel Merrick (Methuen, Mass./Central Catholic) each went 2-for-3.  Hunt scored a pair of runs, while Merrick drove in two.  Freshman Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) also plated two runs, and senior Marissa Hobocan (Shelton, Conn./Saint Joseph) had two hits and a pair of runs.

Three Clark players finished with two hits each, while senior Sarah Carter (Worcester, Mass./Saint Peter-Marian) was saddled with the loss, giving up seven earned runs with two strikeouts and a walk.

Merrick singled home Hunt in the second for Wheaton's initial run, while senior Katy Salka's (Ayer, Mass./Ayer) two-out RBI double the following frame doubled the Lyon edge.  The visitors made the score 4-0 with two more runs in the fourth, as Merrick and Rocha each plated a teammate.  Sophomore Megan Roy's (Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) run-scoring single in the fifth extended Wheaton's lead to five before the Lyons tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth.  Rocha and junior Amanda Poplaski (North Reading, Mass./North Reading) had one RBI each, while Poplaski scored the game's final run on a wild pitch.

Game two saw Baker and junior Lesley Warn (Portland, Maine/Deering) combine to toss a gem, as Baker yielded a harmless double in the fifth with two strikeouts and one walk in five innings.  Earning her first save of the season, Warn fanned one and walked another during two hitless frames.  Wheaton's offense provided 10 hits, led by Salka, who went 3-for-4 while doubling twice to go alongside a home run.  Roy was 2-for-3 with a homer, while Rocha contributed a pair of hits with a double.

Freshman Shawna Amatucci (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) provided the hosts with their lone hit, and sophomore Nicole Meuse (Hudson, Mass./Hudson) was dealt the loss, giving up three earned runs with two strikeouts and a walk.  The Cougar defense committed four errors.

Roy's homer to start the second gave the Lyons the only run they needed, as Baker retired 13 of the first 14 batters she faced.  Rocha scored on a third-inning miscue to make the score 2-0 before Salka's solo shot over the right field fence to lead off the sixth pushed the margin to three.  Wheaton added its final two runs in the seventh, with Poplaski singling home a run before scoring courtesy of a throwing error.

The Lyons head to Providence, Rhode Island, tomorrow night for a rescheduled non-conference game at Rhode Island College at 7:00 p.m.

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