Softball Opens New England Play With Sweep of Emmanuel

Softball Opens New England Play With Sweep of Emmanuel

BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston fought the elements and a late-game comeback charge from host Emmanuel College, to earn a doubleheader sweep of the Saints in the Beacons' New England opener.

THE BASICS

UMass Boston 14, Emmanuel 3 (6 Innings)

UMass Boston 8, Emmanuel 7

(UMass Boston 10-2)

(Emmanuel College 3-9)

HOW IT HAPPENED

Despite being off for well over a week, UMass Boston's bats racked up 22 runs on 22 hits, to improve to a program-best 10-2 start.

Senior Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) broke out in a huge way, as the senior went 5-for-7 with seven RBI, three runs scored and four extra-base hits. Mitsiaris' final hit was a two-run homer that plated the eventual game-winning run in game two.

In the circle, freshman Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) threw 11 of the 13 innings, to improve to 6-1 on the season. The freshman cruised in game one, before having to persevere against heavy winds and rains, along with the hot bats of the Saints.

GAME ONE

After falling behind 2-0, UMass Boston scored 14 runs in three innings to cruise to a 14-3 mercy-rule victory.

Senior Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) provided the brunt of the offense in game one, as she went an impressive 4-for-5 with three runs, four RBI and three extra-base hits. In addition to her two doubles, she also put the cherry on top in the Beacons' seven-run, sixth inning, with a two run homer. 

Mitsiaris was nearly as strong, as the senior broke out of a mini-slump with two hits, one run scored, four RBI and two doubles of her own. The Beacons's final senior, Kaitlyn "KMO" Morse (Arlington, Mass.) also had a huge game. Morse went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI.

Sophomore Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) was the final Beacon with multiple hits, as she slugged a pair of doubles and scored once.

In the circle, Greenspan and fellow freshman Megan Hoben (Bedford, Mass.) combined for a three-hitter. Greenspan came on in the third and limited the Saints to three hits and one run, while striking out four in four innings. Hoben threw the first two frames and was charged with two earned runs on four walks.

Emmanuel's combination of Jill Kilcoyne and Olivia Burgos were both roughed up in the circle. The pair combined to give up 14 hits and 10 earned runs, while walking six batters.

The Saints took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second thanks to a trio of walks. Hoben walked the bases loaded with no outs, before allowing a pair of runners to score on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. From there, she bore down and got out of the inning with a fly out and ground out.

UMass Boston took the lead for good in the third. Raczkowski blasted an RBI double to score Morse and two runners scored on an error by the left fielder with one out.

After a one-two-three bottom of the third, UMass Boston pushed their advantage to 7-2 in the top of the fourth. With two runners in scoring position and no outs, Morse scored on a wild pitch and Raczkowski drove Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) in with an RBI single. Four batters later with two runners in scoring positon and two down, Mitsiaris delivered with an RBI double to score Raczkowski and Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.).

Emmanuel pushed across a single run in the fifth to make it 7-3, but that would be as close as they would get. Each of the first six runners would record a hit in the top of the sixth as UMass Boston doubled their lead to 14-3.

With two on and no outs, Mitsiaris delivered another two-run double, with Tulley and Pawlina both easily scoring. Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) followed with an RBI single, and Morse plated freshman Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) with an RBI single of her own. After Vento pushed the lead to 12-3 with a sacrifice fly, Raczkowski delivered the finishing blow with a mammoth two-run homer.

Greenspan would get the final two batters of the game to strike out to secure the victory.

GAME TWO 

Saturday's second contest would be much closer, as the Beacons rallied from an early deficit, and then had to hold off a late charge from the host Saints.

Mitsiaris was the offensive star, as she went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, three RBI and a double and a home run. Freshman Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) was the only other Beacon to get multiple hits, as she finished 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Morse added two RBI of her own, while Tulley crossed the plate twice.

Greenspan threw the whole seven innings but faced a much stiffer challenge from the Saints. He final line saw her allow 14 hits and six earned runs, while walking seven and striking out four in sub-optimal weather conditions.

Four different Saints finished with multiple hits, led by Ashley Skey (3-4, 2 RBI) and Susie Kieselback (2-3, 2 RBI).

Kieselback's sister Megan took the loss after coming on in relief for Emmanuel. She got the start and allowed six earned runs on seven hits and seven walks in the opening 4.2 innings. Kilcoyne relieved her and gave up two more runs in the final 2.1 innings.

Emmanuel took a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first on RBI singles from Skey and Megan Kiselback.

UMass Boston cut the deficit to 2-1 in the top of the second. Tulley walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved up to third on a Mitsiaris single and then scampered home on a wild pitch.

Burgos tacked on a third run for the Saints in the fourth, when she doubled to center with two down. The Beacons erased her with the final out of the inning, when she tried to score on a softly hit ball to third.

UMass Boston's bats came alive in the fifth for five runs on four hits. Vento worked a lead-off walk and Kayla Harris (Cumberland, Maine), her pinch-runner, easily came home to score on Bilotta's one-out double. With two outs and two runners on, Bilotta raced home with the game-tying run on a wild pitch. 

Mitsiaris followed with an RBI double to plate Tulley and make it 4-3 UMass Boston. A pair of walks loaded up the bases and Morse came through with a two-run, ground-rule double to score Mitsiaris and Prusmack.

UMass Boston kept Emmanuel off the board in the bottom of the fifth, as Greenspan's throw beat a runner coming home for the third out. 

Mitsiaris gave UMass Boston a commanding 8-3 lead in the top of the sixth, when she rocketed a two-run homer to score Tulley and herself.

The Saints wouldn't go down easily though. The first three batters reached in the bottom of the sixth to load the bases and Skey followed with an RBI single. Susie Kieselback added a two-run double to make it 8-6 and Megan cut into the Beacons' lead further with a sacrifice fly. With just one out and two runners on, Greenspan induced a pop-up to the catcher and a strikeout to keep the score at 8-7. 

Emmanuel would put two more runners on in the seventh, but the wily freshman struck out another batter and got Susie Kieselback to pop up to short to close out the Saints.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Four of Mitsiaris' five hits went for extra-bases in the victory. With her five hits, Mitsiaris is now sitting on 98 career hits in 116 games.
  • UMass Boston earned their second-straight sweep of the Saints on Saturday. With the two wins, the Beacons improved to 15-6 all-time against Emmanuel College.
  • Every Beacons' starter had at least one hit on the day, and the Beacons improved their team batting average to .342 on the season. Ten different players are currently hitting .306 or above on the season.
  • The two teams combined to leave 41 runners on base, with the Beacons leaving 23 runners on in 13 innings. 

WHO'S NEXT

UMass Boston will take on regional power Babson College on Tuesday afternoon for a single contest starting at 3 p.m.