NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College sophomore catcher Ashley Brillon (Attleboro, Mass./Bishop Feehan) laced a single into the base of the centerfield fence to drive in the decisive run in the bottom of the seventh as the Lyons edged No.23 Coast Guard Academy 9-8 in the second game of a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) softball doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Clark Field. Wheaton opened the NEWMAC conference circuit with a 6-2 victory over the Bears in game one.
Sophomore shortstop Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) powered the Lyons (8-8, 2-0 NEWMAC) offensive attack with a combined 3-for-4 performance at the plate with a home run and two RBI. Junior left fielder Amanda Drury (Tolland, Conn./Tolland) also went 3-for-4 from the plate with a pair of RBI.
With game two tied at eight entering the seventh, senior first baseman Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) led off with a ground-rule double to left center field. Junior Renee Laflam (Concord, N.H./Concord) placed a bunt down the third base line to advance Roy to third. Laflam kept the pressure on Coast Guard with a delayed steal to put both runners in scoring position. Brillon then drove a 1-2 pitch over the head of the center fielder to provide the Lyons with a come-from-behind victory and complete the season sweep of the nationally-ranked Bears (11-7, 0-2).
Wheaton seemed to have the second half of the twinbill in control as they exploded for five runs in the first inning to grab an early lead. Rocha launched her second home run of the season over the left field fence to open the scoring for the hosts. Later in the frame, Wheaton utilized a walk, single and hit by pitch to load the bases. Brillon lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate the Lyons second run. And freshman Noelle Christmas (Plymouth Mass./Plymouth South) produced the biggest hit of the inning when she drilled a three-run homer to left to match the team's most productive inning of the season. Christmas home run was the first of her collegiate career.
The Lyons extended their advantage to 6-0 in the next inning, but Coast Guard displayed its quick-strike abilities in the middle innings to whittle away its deficit. Freshman designated player Jesse Richardson (Kent, Wash.) laced a single up the middle in the third inning to push across the Bears first run of the ballgame. Junior third baseman Holli Bastinck (Wayne, N.J.) followed suit with a three-run bomb to center field to chase sophomore starting pitcher Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional). Junior right fielder Stacia Sarwinski (Grove, Okla.) gave Coast Guard its first lead of the series (7-6) with a three-run homer to center field to cap a four-run fifth.
Unfazed by the charging Bears, Wheaton forged an eight-all tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. The first two Lyon hitters reached safely to start the frame. A fielding error by the visitors loaded the bases with just one out. Drury worked a full-count walk to push across a run while Rocha followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to set the stage for Brillon's heroics in the seventh.
Christmas hurled 4.2 innings in relief of Baker to earn the victory. She allowed seven hits and four runs while striking out two. Walker was saddled with the loss, giving up nine runs on 12 hits.
Wheaton cracked the scoring column in its first at-bat in game one when Rocha led off with a double to center field. Roy attempted to move Rocha to third with a sacrifice bunt, but the errant throw into right field allowed the local nine to take the early 1-0 advantage.
Coast Guard used a little small ball of its own to even the contest at one in the top of second. Following a walk to start the frame, the Bears executed a sacrifice bunt to put their first runner in scoring position. Sophomore center fielder Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich.) dropped in a RBI single to her counterpart to plate Bastinck.
Wheaton responded with five unanswered runs over the course of the three subsequent innings to build a commanding 6-1 lead. Drury gave the hosts a lead they would never relinquish with an infield RBI single in the bottom of the second inning. Senior third baseman Valerie Tratner (Forest Hills, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) provided the Lyons with a little breathing room in the third with a one-out single up the middle that knocked in a pair of runs.
Wheaton capitalized on another Coast Guard defensive miscue to account for its final two runs of the game. With runners on first and second, junior right fielder Alanna Monahan (Dorchester, Mass./Southfield School) pushed a sacrifice bunt to the left side of home plate. The Bears attempted to cut down the lead runner at third base, but an errant throw into left field enabled the Lyons to produce their final runs of the contest.
Baker settled down to retire seven out of the final eight Bears she faced to collect the complete-game victory. She allowed two runs (one earned) on just three hits while striking out one in seven innings of work. Junior Catherine Walker (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) suffered the loss by surrendering three earned runs on seven hits while punching out four.
Wheaton returns to action at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, when the Lyons host Rhode Island College (5-2) in a non-conference doubleheader at Clark Field. The Bears host Trinity (Conn.) Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.