MANSFIELD, Conn.—Despite several record-breaking and record-tying marks on the day, UMass Boston softball suffered a sweep at the hands of Little East Conference Preseason Favorite Eastern Connecticut State University on Saturday afternoon.
Eastern Connecticut State 5, UMass Boston
Eastern Connecticut State 6, UMass Boston 3
(UMass Boston 14-11, Little East 3-5)
(Eastern Connecticut State 17-5, 6-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Warriors erased a pair of two-run Beacons leads in the opener and then jumped out to a 6-2 lead in game two to earn their third-straight, regular-season sweep of the Beacons.
Junior Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) set the program record for career innings pitched (459.1) in game number one. Greenspan and senior Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) also tied he program marks for career appearances as a pitcher and position player during the doubleheader.
At the plate, Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) finished 4-6 with three runs scored, one RBI, two walks and two stolen bases. Her fourth hit of the day marked her 100thcareer base knock.
GAME ONE RECAP
Eastern Connecticut State scored four runs in their final two at-bats to earn a come-from-behind victory over the Beacons.
Braga led the beacons at the plate by going 3-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) added two hits and an RBI and Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) chipped in two hits of her own.
In the circle, Greenspan suffered her fourth loss of the year after allowing six hits and five earned runs in six innings.
Eastern's Jacky Arndt earned the win in relief, by allowing one hit and one unearned over two innings. Starter Morgan Sanson was charged with eight hits and three earned runs over the first five frames.
UMass Boston took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Braga singled, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball. Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.) walked and took third on a Bilotta doubled, before hustling home on another wild pitch.
The hosts cut the deficit to one in the bottom of the inning, when Lauren Zenk led off with a triple and scored on a Jackie Lewis single.
Braga came through again in the second inning, when she smacked a single into center field to score fellow junior Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) with one out.
The Beacons had a huge chance to blow the game open in the fourth, but Sanson induced a fly out to left with the bases loaded and two outs.
Eastern made the Beacons pay in the fifth inning. With two on and one out, Sara Pisanelli tied the game with a two-run double to center. Pinch runner Katelyn Miller scored two batters later on a Julia SanGiovanni RBI single.
UMass Boston tied the game in the sixth with two outs. Braga walked with one out and moved to second after the Warriors committed an error. Bilotta sprayed a single just over the shortstop's head to score Braga from second and tie the game at 4-4.
Eastern Connecticut State scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning. Sabrina LeMere led off with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout and raced home on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Grace Leone.
Arndt retired the Beacons in order in the seventh to preserve the win.
GAME TWO RECAP
Eastern scored six runs between the second and fourth innings and Morgan Sanson threw two scoreless innings in relief to lead the Warriors to a sweep.
Giovanna Bonilla (Queens, N.Y.) paced the Beacons offense with two of the team's six hits. Bilotta added a hit, a run scored and two RBI, while Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) came through with an RBI double of her own
Freshman Hayley Catania (Amesbury, Mass.) and Jayla Blackmon (Cambridge, Mass.) split the game in the circle. Catania allowed eight hits and five earned runs to fall to 4-5. Blackmon limited the hosts to three hits and one earned run over the final three frames.
Eastern's Haleigh Cardello took the victory after throwing five innings and allowing six hits and three runs (two earned). Sanson picked up her third save of the year by limiting the Beacons to one walk over the final two frames.
The Warriors grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second. LeMere came through with an RBI single and Alexis Tyrrell worked a bases-loaded walk with two down.
UMass Boston immediately responded with two runs of their own in the next half inning. After two walks and a single loaded the bases, Bilotta struck a two-run single to score Braga and Pawlina.
Unfortunately the hosts had a big response of their own. Pisanelli led off with a home run to start the third and the Warriors added two more runs on two-out RBI singles.
After Eastern struck for one more two-out run in the fourth, UMass Boston capped off the scoring in the fifth. With two down and Bilotta at first base, Tulley ripped a double to right-center to cut the deficit to 6-3.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Greenspan not only broke Michelle Zullo's ('15) program record for innings pitched, but also tied her with her 79thcareer pitching appearances.
- Vento tied former teammate Kaitlyn Morse ('17) for career games played by a position player with 151.
- With the sweep, the Beacons fall to 4-46 all-time against the Warriors. UMass Boston is 4-6 over their past 10 meetings, including postseason wins in 2016 and 2017.
- After Tuesday's road doubleheader against the University of Southern Maine, the Beacons will have faced each of the other top six teams in the LEC Preseason Coaches Poll. UMass Boston still has to play all three teams picked seventh through ninth in the poll.
- UMass Boston was held to single-digit hits in two games on the same day for only the second time this season. The Beacons had just six hits in both games against Arcadia and Haverford in Florida on March 10.
UMass Boston will look to bounce back on Tuesday, when they travel to take on the Huskies of Southern Maine at 3 and 5 p.m.