LEESBURG, Fla.—Freshman Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) capped off a career-high six-RBI day with the game-winning hit in game two, to lead UMass Boston Softball to a doubleheader sweep of Massachusetts foes.
UMass Boston 11, Lasell College 4
UMass Boston 5, MCLA 4
(UMass Boston 7-1)
(Lasell College 1-4)
HOW IT HAPPENED
In game two, the Beacons went back-and-forth with MCLA in a pitcher's duel, until Bilotta's RBI single drove in Kayla Harris (Cumberland, Maine) with the game-winning run in the top of the seventh.
After a tight first three innings against Lasell, UMass Boston scored two runs in the fourth and blew the game open with a 5-run fifth, to easily race past the Lasers.
Bilotta finished 2-for-3 with two runs, five RBI and hit her first collegiate home run. Fellow freshman Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) added her first collegiate home run and ended the game 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.
Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) tacked on three hits, two runs and an RBI, while Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) and Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) posted identical batting lines of two hits, one run scored and one RBI. Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) added two runs scored and reached base twice.
In the circle, Hoben earned her second win in as many appearances. She allowed six hits and three earned runs over four innings, while striking out four. Greenspan came on for the final three innings and earned the save. She allowed one unearned run and struck out three.
Victoria Spellman led the Lasers with three hits and two runs scored, while catcher Laura MacLeod tacked on two RBI.
After Lasell pulled their starting pitcher in the second inning, relief pitcher Lydia Lewis-Hicks was charged with the loss. She gave up eight runs, six earned, on 12 hits in 4.1 innings.
Lasell opened the scoring with an RBI single in the top of the first, only to have the Beacons answer right back. The Beacons loaded the bases with zero outs and Bilotta plated Morse with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
The Beacons took the lead for good in the bottom of the second. With Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) on third and the infield drawn in for a potential squeeze play, Prusmack slapped a hard single through the right side that made it at all the way to the wall. Prusmack took off running and turned a would-be double into a home run thanks to her amazing speed.
Lasell immediately countered with an RBI groundout and an RBI single in the top of the third to tie the game at 3-3.
On the first pitch of the bottom of the third, Bilotta crushed a home run over the left-center field fence to give the Beacons the lead right back at 4-3.
In her next at-bat, Bilotta plated a pair of runners with a double to the wall in right center, that scored Raczkowski and Braga in the bottom of the fourth.
Lasell scratched across a single run in the top of the fifth, but it wouldn't be enough against the Beacons high-powered offense. UMass Boston had five runners cross the plate in the bottom of the fifth to put the game away.
Braga started the scoring with an RBI bunt single to score Tulley. Freshman Angelina Avitabile (Holbrook, Mass.) put together a productive first collegiate plate appearance by working a bases-loaded walk to make it 8-4. Raczkowski followed with an RBI single, and Bilotta made it 10-4 with an RBI groundout that was rocketed right at the shortstop. Tulley capped off the scoring with an RBI single that scored Bilotta.
UMass Boston put a sluggish middle third of the game behind them thanks to a two-run top of the seventh. The Beacons ran out to a 3-0 lead after 3.5 innings, but saw MCLA creep back into the game with three runs over the next three innings.
Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) and Bilotta each had RBI hits in the top of the seventh and combined to carry the offense. Vento finished 1-for-2 with a walk and a team-best three RBI. Bilotta added her only hit and only RBI in the seventh.
As a team, the Beacons were limited to just five hits, with Braga, Pawlina and Prusmack picking up the other three.
Greenspan earned her team-high third win of the year, by throwing just 80 pitches over seven innings. The freshman scattered six hits and two earned runs, while striking out eight.
Freshman Morgan Watson got the Opening Day start for MCLA and went six innings-allowing four runs, one earned. She was replaced after one batter in the sixth, with reliever Erika Quackenbush taking the loss. Quackenbush allowed both RBI hits in the seventh and gave up one earned run.
Quackenbush did hit a home run in the bottom of the seventh and finished with one of the Trailblazers' six hits. Watson added two hits, one run and one RBI, while Alexandra Romano finished with the team's third RBI.
UMass Boston needed just three batters to take the lead in the top of the first. After Morse reached on an error, she moved to second on a wild pitch and took third on a sac bunt. Vento drove her in with a sacrifice fly to give the Beacons a 1-0 lead.
The Beacons pushed their advantage to 3-0 in the fourth. Tulley reached on an error and scored on a double steal gone wrong, as MCLA's catcher threw the ball away. With the bases loaded and two down, Vento worked a walk to score pinch runner Chaislyn Burgio (Quincy, Mass.).
MCLA finally got to Greenspan in the fourth. After retiring the first 10 batters she faced, Greenspan allowed back-to-back singles. With two down and runners at the corners, Romano barely legged out an infield single to the pitcher. The Beacons tried to throw out the trail runner heading to third, but instead the ball got away and allowed MCLA to score a second run.
The home team tied the game up in the bottom of the sixth. Leadoff hitter Kaitlyn Berghala singled and moved up to third base with one out. Watson helped herself with an RBI single to tie it, but she was stranded at first base, after back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
Braga started the Beacons' rally in the top of the seventh. The freshman put down a perfect bunt in front of the plate for an infield single. She advanced to second on a wild pitch and cruised home after Vento ripped a double to the wall with no outs. With one down and Harris pinch running for Vento, Bilotta crushed a grounder that went off the second baseman's glove and into shallow right field. Harris never stopped running from second and easily scored to give the Beacons a huge insurance run.
That run would come in handy in the bottom of the inning. With two down and no one on, Quackenbush crushed a pitch over the tall left-center field fence for a 5-4 Beacons lead. Greenspan easily recovered and got the final batter swinging to secure the sweep.
BY THE NUMBERS
- UMass Boston improved to 8-7 all-time against Lasell and 1-2 against MCLA. The Beacon split with the two sides last year in Florida, with MCLA earning a 1-0 eight-inning win over the Beacons.
- Avitabile made her collegiate debut in game one against Lasell. She played the final three innings defensively at catcher and finished 0-for-1 with a walk and an RBI.
- The Beacons clinched their best-ever start to the season (7-1) and their most-ever wins in a spring break trip. UMass Boston had never won more than five games in a Florida trip, or in their first eight games.
- Bilotta leads the Beacons with 13 RBI in just eight games. She has recorded multiple RBI in four of her seven appearances this year.
- UMass Boston's pitching staff lowered their ERA to 2.56, after giving up just five earned runs in 14 innings. The Beacons three starters have struck out 45 batters, while allowing just 14 walks.
UMass Boston will close out their Florida Trip on Thursday. The Beacons will take on Kalamazoo College out of Michigan at 10:30 a.m. and Wesleyan University out of Connecticut at 3:30 p.m. in Leesburg.