Lyons take on Husson in winners bracket tomorrow at 11 a.m.
NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College senior Emily Berardi (Boston, Mass./Boston Latin) struck out 11 batters in a complete-game effort to lead the Lyons to a 4-1 victory over Johnson & Wales University on day one of the NCAA Division III softball regional held at Clark Field.
Berardi scattered six hits and allowed just one earned run to improve her record to 15-5 on the season.
Wildcats' first-year starter Jennifer Corona (Middle Island, N.Y./Longwood) shouldered the loss (17-8) on six innings pitched, eight hits, four runs (all earned), one walk and two strikeouts.
In the bottom of the first inning, Berardi helped her own cause with a two-run home run to left center field for a quick 2-0 advantage.
Sophomore Morgan Walsh (Norwell, Mass./Norwell) scored on the two-run shot after reaching base on the second consecutive fielder's choice play that allowed her to get to first base. The Wildcats threw out junior Emma Hart (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln) at second base (3-6) on a ball put in play by classmate Madeline Hatch (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro), while Hatch was later forced out at second, 6-4.
Hart began the inning with a hard-hit single through the right side of the infield.
In the second, Johnson & Wales sophomore Emily Schaper (Pompton Lakes, N.J./Pompton Lakes) cut the deficit in half, 2-1, with a no-doubter home run to left field, her sixth of the season.
Corona then kept Wheaton's offense at bay in the bottom half of the frame as she worked her way out of a two-out jam with runners at second and third base by inducing a fly out to left field.
Berardi eventually drove in another run for the Lyons in the third with a run-producing double to right center field that scored Hatch from second base. Hatch led off the inning with a bunt single down the third base line, and advanced to second on a wild pitch before scoring.
Berardi went on to strike out five batters over the remaining four innings of play and only allowed one runner to reach scoring position in the fourth. Corona laced a two-out double down the left field line, but Berardi induced a ground out to short to squash the scoring threat.
In the fifth, Walsh tacked on another insurance run with a double to left center field that scored Hart from first base. Hart started off the frame with a bunt single to third base and then wheeled around both bags to score standing up for the 4-1 lead when Walsh smacked her fourth double of the year into the gap.
Hart finished the day going 2-for-3 with one run scored at the plate, while Berardi was 2-for-2 with one run scored and three RBI. Schaper finished the matchup going 1-for-3 with a run scored and one RBI. Junior catcher Kristen Solari (Old Bridge, N.J./St. John Vianney) also went 3-for-3 with three singles for the Wildcats to highlight their offense.
Wheaton (31-8) will play Husson University (27-11) tomorrow in the winner's bracket of the tournament at 11 a.m. Johnson & Wales (21-15) faces Eastern Connecticut State University (29-7-1) in an elimination game tomorrow at 1:30 pm. The NCAA Division III Softball Tournament is a double-elimination format.