WORCESTER, Mass. - The Wheaton College softball team split its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader at WPI Friday afternoon, winning game one 3-0 behind a 3-for-4 performance from sophomore Jenna Rocha (Rehoboth, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) before suffering a 5-2 setback in the nightcap.
Rocha led off game one with a home run to stake the Lyons (16-16, 8-4 NEWMAC) to an early 1-0 lead. Freshman Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) followed with a double to left and scored on an error to double WC's lead before the Engineers had a turn at bat. Wheaton scraped across its third run of the game when Rocha scored on a third strike wild pitch in the third.
Sophomore Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) evened her record at 10-10 with a three-hit shutout. She walked none and fanned five. Senior Allie Hardy (West Townsend, Mass./Leominster) took the loss for WPI, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned) with six strikeouts.
The Engineers (20-12, 7-5 NEWMAC) put up a '3' spot in the first inning of game two. Sophomore Nicole McDonough (Abington, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) drove in the first run with a single to left-center, and three batters later, classmate Ali LaRue (South Glens Falls, N.Y./South Glens Falls) laced a two-run double to right-center.
Wheaton gave up an unearned run in the second to fall behind 4-0. Junior Megan Roy (North Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth Regional) came through with a two-out single in the third to get the Lyons on the board. Freshman Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) followed with a run-scoring single to cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
WPI added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI single by senior Allie Roche (Chelmsford, Mass./Chelmsford). Senior Erin Flaherty (Stoughton, Mass./Stoughton) worked seven innings in the circle for the Engineers, allowing eight hits and two runs while striking out nine. Christmas took the loss for Wheaton as she surrendered two runs on two hits in five innings. She walked two and struck out one.
Berardi and senior Valerie Tratner (Forest Hills, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) each recorded two hits for Wheaton in game two.
The Lyons return to action next Friday with a pair of games at Wellesley. WPI heads to Smith for two NEWMAC games tomorrow beginning at noon.