NORTON, Mass. – First-seeded Wheaton College claimed a pair of victories against sixth-seeded Babson and second-seeded MIT on Saturday afternoon at Clark Field to remain in contention for the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Softball Tournament Championship title. The Lyons defeated Babson, 10-2 in six innings, in their first game and also picked up a 1-0 shutout victory over MIT to conclude day two of tournament play.
Wheaton (30-7) will play third-seeded WPI tomorrow at 10 a.m. The winner of that matchup will face Wellesley in the next round and have to defeat the Blue twice in order to win the NEWMAC Championship. The loser will be eliminated from tournament play. Wellesley is currently undefeated (3-0) in the double-elimination tournament.
Both Babson (23-14) and MIT (27-8) saw their respective seasons come to a close on Saturday.
With the sweep, Wheaton has now won 30 or more games 11 times in program history and produced back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time since 2003-2004.
Wheaton 10, Babson 2 (Six Inn.)
Lyons' starting senior pitcher Noelle Christmas (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth South) picked up the win (8-1) in a complete-game effort allowing two runs (both earned), five hits, and one walk alongside five strikeouts.
Babson starter Meghan Hayes (Robbinsville, N.J./Hun School of Princeton) took the loss (14-9) on 5 2/3 innings pitched, ten runs (six earned), 12 hits, and two walks.
The Beavers began the scoring in the top of the second inning when junior Emily Morris (Wolcott, Conn./Wolcott) launched a two-run home run over the center field wall that plated first-year Samantha Smith (Hillsborough, N.J./Immaculata). Smith reached base via a double off the fence in the previous at-bat.
Wheaton responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the same inning to cut into the deficit at 2-1.
Sophomore Emily Bouthillette (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln) got the offense going with a leadoff double down the left field line. Junior Kelly Welch (Wood Dale, Ill./Fenton) then advanced Bouthillette to third base with a ground out to short, while classmate Erin Deneen (South Yarmouth, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to produce the run.
The Blue and White took the lead in the bottom of the third with a four-run frame.
Sophomore Rebecca Seifert (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) worked a leadoff walk and junior Emma Hart (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln) notched a hard-hit single down the left field line that put runners on first and second. Classmate Madeline Hatch (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro) lined out in the next at-bat, but a throwing error by Babson's shortstop on attempted double-play back at first base sailed out of play and allowed Seifert to score and Hart to advance to third.
After sophomore Morgan Walsh drove home Hart on an infield single to the shortstop, classmate Caroline Fairbanks (Milford, Mass./Milford) cleared the bases with a two-run home run to right center, which extended Wheaton's advantage to 5-2 after three full innings of play.
Christmas retired the side in order in the fourth and the fifth before finally allowing a hit in the sixth that broke up a string of nine-straight for the senior.
Wheaton's offense went on to score one more run in the fourth and another four in the sixth to force the mercy rule and seal the victory.
In the fourth inning, Hart scolded an RBI double to deep left field that plated Seifert all the way from first base. Seifert extended the frame for Hart with her second walk of the contest with two outs.
In the sixth, junior Marissa Timoteo (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter) reached base on a fielder's choice, while Hart singled up the middle to put runners on first and second with one out.
Both Timoteo and Hart then came around to score on a throwing error after by Babson's third baseman after Hatch dropped a perfectly place bunt single down the third base line to make the score 8-2.
Walsh followed with a line drive RBI single down the left field line and advanced all the way to third base on a fielding error. Fairbanks went on to seal the win with a walk-off sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Hart and Walsh both went 3-for-4 on the afternoon and drove in three runs combined to highlight Wheaton's offensive efforts. Fairbanks also went 2-for-3 with one run scored and three RBI from the cleanup spot for the Lyons.
Wheaton 1, MIT 0
Lyons' senior pitcher Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) threw her sixth complete game and third shutout of the season to improve her record to 14-4 this spring. Berardi scattered two hits, induced 13 ground outs and seven fly outs, issued one walk and also recorded a strikeout in the win.
MIT junior Alexandra Marshall (Glen Head, N.Y./North Shore) shouldered the loss (11-4) allowing six hits, one run (earned), and one walk alongside four strikeouts.
Wheaton scored early in the contest as the Lyons produced the only run they needed in the bottom of the second inning with two outs.
Berardi roped a double to center field to begin the rally, while Welch worked a walked to put runners at first and second base. Deneen followed with a hard-hit single up the middle that plated Berardi from second for the 1-0 advantage.
Berardi went on to retire seven in a row, dating back to the final out of the second inning, before MIT broke up the string on a leadoff infield single by first-year Zoe Hinton (Aurora, Colo./Cherokee Trail High School) in the fifth.
Classmate Katherine Shade (Glencoe, Ill./New Trier Township) immediately advanced Hinton to second on a sacrifice bunt to put the tying run in scoring position. Berardi went unscathed in the frame, however, as the senior induced back-to-back fly outs to center field to maintain Wheaton's 1-0 lead.
From that point on, Berardi did not allow another MIT runner to reach scoring position. The Engineers only had three runners in scoring position in the entire contest coming in the first, second and fifth innings, respectively.
Marshall was just as effective as Berardi after allowing the lone run of the matchup in the second yielding just two hits, while retiring the last eight batters she faced to finish the game.
Babson sophomore Leslie Moore (Atkinson, N.H./Central Catholic) registered the Beavers only mult-hit game going 2-for-3 out of the third spot in the lineup.