Wheaton snaps Endicott's 22-game winning streak, splits with Gulls

NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College softball team did what no team had done in over a month's time, as the Lyons handed visiting Endicott College its first loss since March 29 on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Gulls by a 6-5 count on Senior Day before dropping a 7-4 decision at Clark Field.  Snapping Endicott's 22-game winning streak, Wheaton improved to 20-19, while the Gulls are now 32-6.

Freshman Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) went 2-for-2 with two runs, an RBI and a double to pace the hosts in the opener.  Senior Katy Salka (Ayer, Mas./Ayer) batted 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, two RBI and a double, while classmate Rachel Merrick (Methuen, Mass./Central Catholic) was 2-for-3 while plating a run and scoring another.  Freshman hurler Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) went the distance, yielding three earned runs with one strikeout and no walks.

For the visitors, freshman Jennie Lacolla (Stoneham, Mass./Stoneham) went 3-for-4, while sophomore Nicole Devlin (Dudley, Mass./Shepherd Hill Regional) was 2-for-3.  Senior Jenna Bortolotti (Milton, Mass./Milton) gave up six runs, four of which were earned, on 10 hits while fanning two batters and walking one in 2.2 innings.  Freshman Nell O'Connor (Harwich, Mass./Harwich) fired 3.1 shutout frames of no-hit ball.

Wheaton sent eight batters to the plate in the first, as Merrick and Salka each smacked RBI base knocks for a quick 2-0 Lyon advantage.  The Gulls answered with four runs in the top half of the second for a 4-2 edge before the Lyons responded with three runs in the home half to retake the lead for good.  Rocha, Salka and senior Marissa Hobocan (Shelton, Conn./Saint Joseph) all doubled, including run-scoring two-baggers from Hobocan and Salka, before sophomore Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) delivered a two-out RBI single for a 5-4 Wheaton edge.

Rocha's two-out single in the third gave the Lyons a 6-4 lead, providing Baker with ample run support, as the righthander retired eight batters in a row from the third through sixth innings.  After giving up a one-out single in the sixth, Baker induced an inning-ending double play to thwart the rally.  The Gulls loaded the bags with one out in the seventh and narrowed their deficit to one with a fielder's choice groundout before Baker closed the door by forcing a ground ball to first to end the game.

Endicott jumped out to a 7-0 lead in game two before hanging on.  Rocha compiled half of Wheaton's six hits, going a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs, a pair of RBI and a homer.  Baker was saddled with the loss, yielding seven earned runs on nine hits in 3.2 frames.  Merrick fired 3.1 shutout frames in relief, allowing one hit.

Gull freshman Mattie Brett (Waterford, Conn./Waterford) turned in a monster game, going 3-for-4 with five RBI, three runs and a pair of homers.  Sophomore Kayla Carignan (Laconia, N.H./Laconia) improved to 9-0, giving up no earned runs on two hits through four-plus innings, while O'Connor picked up the save after surrendering one earned run on four hits in the final three frames.

Brett's three-run blast over the left center fence gave the visitors a quick 3-0 edge after one.  After the Gulls tacked on single runs in each the second and third innings for a five-run advantage, Brett was at it again in the fourth, this time sending a two-run shot to the exact location as the first for a 7-0 lead.  Threatening for more in the fifth, Endicott left the bases loaded.

In the fifth, the hosts cut into their deficit, scoring three times on two hits combined with one error.  Rocha, Salka and senior Kristen Hunt (Milford, Conn./Jonathan Law) each plated a run.  Rocha's one-out solo blast in the seventh made the score 7-4, but a groundout and foul out sandwiched around Salka's single ended the game.

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