Brillon delivers game-winning hit in the sixth
NORTON, Mass. – Senior third baseman Ashley Brillon (Attleboro, Mass./Bishop Feehan) ripped a two-run double down the left field line in the bottom of the sixth inning to lift second-seeded Wheaton College past third-seeded WPI in the Lyons opening game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Tournament on Friday evening at Clark Field.
With the victory, Wheaton improves to 30-7 overall on the year and claims its tenth 30-win season in program history (first since 2004). The Lyons have now advanced into the winners bracket of the double elimination tournament format and will take on first-seeded Wellesley College (25-9) tomorrow at 2 p.m. in Wellesley, Mass. The Blue defeated Springfield College (19-11-1) earlier today by a 3-0 score in their only contest.
WPI, who edged Smith College (16-12) in game one of the doubleheader at Wheaton with a 2-1 triumph in eight innings, falls to 26-10 on the season. The Engineers will play fifth-seeded Babson (17-19) tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Wellesley, Mass.
Lyons' senior starter Allison Baker (Orange, Conn./Amity Regional) improved to 14-3 on the season scattering ten hits over seven innings while allowing just one run (earned) and zero walks alongside two strikeouts. Baker has now thrown 12 complete games in 18 starts for the Blue and White during the 2014 campaign.
Sophomore Clare Doolin (Newton, Mass./Newton North), who collected the victory in game one against the Pioneers, shouldered the loss in relief on 2 2/3 innings, three hits, two runs (both earned), two walks and two punchouts. Freshman Caroline Medino (Pompton Lakes, N.J./Pompton Lakes) was handed the no-decision on 3 1/3 innings, five hits, one run (unearned), two walks and three strikeouts.
Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, freshman Caroline Fairbanks (Milford, Mass./Milford) got the Lyons' offense going as she worked a leadoff walk and was immediately pinch run for by classmate Rebecca Seifert (Franklin, Mass./Franklin). Senior catcher Ashley Vertente (Fairhaven, Mass./Fairhaven) followed with a sacrifice bunt and sophomore Erin Deneen (Framingham, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) notched a single to center field to put runners at the corners. Deneen then stole second base setting up the potential game-winning hit situation for Brillon.
The senior third baseman came through despite a 2-2 count with a screaming line drive just inside the third base line scoring Seifert and Deneen for the 3-1 advantage. Doolin halted any further damage in the frame with a ground out to second and a fly out to left field.
Baker recorded the first 2 outs of the seventh on just two pitches before giving up a single to freshman Kristin Gallagher (Coventry, R.I./Coventry) to put the tying run at the plate. Baker ended the threat in the next at-bat inducing a fly out to center to end the game.
WPI evened the score up at 1-1 in the top of the sixth as freshman Hope Shevchuk (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S Mills) lined an RBI single to center with runners on second and third. Wheaton sophomore center fielder Emma Hart (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln) saved the go ahead run from potentially scoring as she fired a dart to home plate catching Engineers' freshman Julia Ring (Leominster, Mass./Leominster) in a run down between third and home for the eventual out. Baker concluded the frame with a line out to right field.
The Lyons also had two other key defensive plays in the contest as sophomore right fielder Madeline Hatch (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro) robbed Gallagher of a potential two-run single in the third snaring a sinking line drive down the right field line with a diving catch, while classmate Marissa Timoteo (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter) gunned down a potential game-tying run at home in the fourth.
Wheaton claimed its 1-0 lead in the second inning on a bases loaded infield error.
Brillon went 2-for-3 with two RBI and one walk from the leadoff spot, while Deneen picked up the Lyons only other multi-hit game with a 2-for-2 showing alongside one run and a walk. WPI senior Nicole McDonough (Abington, Mass./Cardinal Spellman) and classmate Juliana Fekete (Belgrade, Maine/Messalonskee) both had two hits apiece in the loss.