BOSTON – After dropping the opening contest to a Beacon walk-off single, UMass Dartmouth softball bounced back with five hits on two outs in the eighth inning in game two on Saturday, securing a Little East Conference-opening split at UMass Boston by 1-0 and 3-1 scores.
UMass Boston 1, Corsairs 0
Beacon junior Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) was the difference maker in the bottom of the seventh in game one, driving a ball down the left field line with the bases loaded to lift the hosts to a 1-0 win.
The unearned run was the only plate-crossing on the otherwise solid outing for senior ace Shannon Orton (Swansea, Mass.), who went the distance allowing just seven hits, striking out six and walking only two.
The Beacons were anchored by freshman pitcher Annie Thomas' (Lunenberg, Mass.) gem in the circle, as she tossed the full seven innings and permitting just the three Corsair hits in the midst of fanning five.
After two straight three-up, three-down innings on offense and holding UMass Boston runners in the first, UMass Dartmouth saw its first scoring chance in the top of the third. Carey led off with a single up the middle, advancing to second on the Field sacrifice bunt. After walking both Emily Colton (Kingston, Mass.) and Maddie O'Gryzek (Norfolk, Mass.), Thomas struck out the next two batters looking to get out of the bases-loaded jam.
Orton and the defense sat the first three Beacon batters in the next two frames before the Corsairs got on base again the fifth. Field singled through the right side, and O'Gryzek advanced both Field and Colton, but Thomas again was able to force the final two outs with runners on base.
The Beacons drilled three hits in the fifth, all singles, but Orton forced two outs of her own to close the inning. Bats wouldn't return until the bottom of the seventh, when UMass Boston freshman Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) was the first to reach base on a single. Junior Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) then reached on an error, and a wild pitch advanced both runners before Pawlina was caught running home on the force out. With the bases loaded, Mitsiaris put the ball in play in the next at-bat to plate Morse and seal the win.
Corsairs 3, UMass Boston 1
Five Corsair hits with two outs in the top of the eighth inning broke a scoreless tie, which lasted through the bottom of the frame to give sophomore Hannah Smith (Attleboro, Mass.) her league-leading ninth win in the circle for the Corsairs in game two.
The contest was a true pitchers' duel throughout, with both teams totaling just four hits through seven. Smith allowed just five hits, striking out three and walking just one as she received defensive support from around the diamond. Seven separate Corsairs laced a single hit, with three recording RBI to close the contest.
UMass Boston pitcher Vic Zechello (Westborough, Mass.) fanned two and walked two, giving up seven hits as all of the Corsairs' runs were earned. She drops to 4-3 in the circle on the season.
Both teams combined for just nine baserunners through the regulation innings, with UMass Dartmouth's lone hit coming in the third. After Carey walked, junior Adi Alicea-Cordero (Dorchester, Mass.) dropped a bunt to advance the runner and reach base herself. Colton then made it to first on a fielder's choice to put Carey at third before Zechello got O'Gryzek to ground out.
The Beacons nearly picked up yet another walk-off in the bottom of the seventh, when Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) belted a triple with empty bases and one out. Despite walking another batter onto base, Smith picked up the third out with a swinging strikeout and sent the game into extras.
UMass Dartmouth's bats then came roaring to life at the right time. Zechello received two outs right away on groundouts, but the top of the order came to the plate and would not go quietly. Colton and O'Gryzek knocked back-to-back singles, setting the stage for freshman Jill Miller (Freetown, Mass.) to lace a hit and drive home Colton. Orton connected on the next at-bat, plating O'Gryzek, before junior Marissa Spinuzzi (Fair Lawn, N.J.) completed the five-consecutive singles and scored Miller.
Pawlina cracked a hit in the bottom of the eighth, but Spinuzzi got the force out at second base in the next at-bat. With Morse on first, freshman Alyssa Tulley (Lowell, Mass.) sent a double to left field to score the Beacons' first run, but Smith got the final out on a pop-up to Colton at shortstop.
Tulley and Pawlina were the only two batters on the game to register multiple hits, with Pawlina going 2-of-3 and Tulley 2-for-4.
The Corsairs are right back at it tomorrow, heading home to meet Plymouth State at 1 p.m. for the LEC doubleheader that was originally scheduled for last weekend.