Wheaton swept by Judges in first series meeting since 1997 season

NORTON, MA- In the first series meeting since 1997, the Wheaton College softball team was swept by visiting Brandeis University, 10-5 and 3-2 during a twinbill on Tuesday at Clark Field. The Lyons slipped to 14-20, while the Judges, who are coached by former Wheaton All-American Jessica Johnson '98, improved to 16-10.

In the opener, the Blue and White rallied from an early deficit to knot the contest by the third inning. Brandeis scored each of its first three runs with two down, plating an unearned run in the opening inning before junior Erin Ross (Manalapan, NJ/Manalapan) hit a two-run double in the third.

Hitless prior to the inning, Wheaton scored three runs with two down in the third, with the first coming in when sophomore Marissa Hobocan's (Shelton, CT/Saint Joseph) single up the middle plated classmate Katy Salka (Ayer, MA/Ayer). After a double off the bat of senior Brady Benton (Concord, NH/Concord), Hobocan came home on a wild pitch, and Benton scampered plateward on an infield miscue.

However, Brandeis immediately took the lead back, with freshman Lara Hirschler's (Bellmore, NY/John F. Kennedy) one-out RBI single in the fourth giving her team an advantage for good. The Judges scored five times on five hits in the fifth, while another two-out run came home in the sixth. Wheaton staged a short rally in the bottom half, as the first two batters reached before Salka came through with a two-out, two-run single to produce the final margin. The Lyons stranded two in the seventh.

Salka finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Hobocan added a pair of hits. Freshman Mary Fay (Stoughton, MA/Cardinal Spellman) suffered the loss, going 4.1 innings, before classmate Lesley Warn (Portland, ME/Deering) yielded one run in 2.2 frames of relief.

Ross went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Judges, Hirschler finished 2-for-3 with two RBI, and sophomore Courtney Kelley (Leicester, MA/Notre Dame Academy) was 2-for-3 while scoring a pair of runs. Freshman Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, PA/Harriton) yielded four earned runs in six innings to earn the victory.

Brandeis also scored the first three runs of the second contest, tallying once in the first before sophomore Danielle Lavallee (Sutton, MA/Notre Dame Academy) and Kelley smacked consecutive run-scoring hits in the third, but the rally ended when Kelley was caught trying to take an extra base, and the Lyons claimed momentum.

After the first eight Lyons were held hitless, freshman Emily O'Connell (Kennebunk, ME/Kennebunk) punched a 3-2 pitch up the middle with two down in the third before Hobocan doubled to left center, but the Lyons were unable to score. The following inning, Wheaton rallied to make it 3-1, as senior Lynn Cotto's (Brookfield, CT/Brookfield) two-out single plated the first run. Senior Stacey Kelleher (Brockton, MA/Brockton) drilled an opposite-field dinger leading off the sixth to cut the Lyon deficit to a lone run, and O'Connell singled with one down in the bottom of the seventh before eventually reaching third with two down but being stranded.

Kelleher finished 2-for-3 with two runs, while O'Connell was 2-for-3. Warn yielded three earned runs in three frames before junior Andrea Bagley (Foxboro, MA/Foxboro) fired four no-hit innings out of the bullpen.

Seven Judges had single hits in the contest in support of junior Emily Vaillette (Milford, NH/Milford), who yielded eight hits during a complete-game effort.

Wheaton, which occupies the final postseason tournament spot in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) standings, completes its league slate with a pair of doubleheaders this weekend, beginning on Friday at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a 3:30 p.m. twinbill.