WORCESTER, Mass. - For the second consecutive Saturday, the Worcester State University softball team earned a split in a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader, this week against Bridgewater State University at Raymond Diamond. The Lancers won game one 5-3, before the Bears salvaged a split with a 4-3 game two victory.
With the split, the Lancers move to 3-19 overall on the season and 2-2 in the MASCAC. Bridgewater State moves to 6-13 and 3-1 in conference play.
Game 1 - Worcester State 5, Bridgewater State 3
Worcester State scored runs in the second, third, and fourth innings, and got strong pitching from senior captain Rachel Frisch (Worcester, Mass.) to pick up its second MASCAC win of the season.
Sophomore Sam Maglione (Lancaster, Mass.) got the Lancers on the board first in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single to put the hosts up 1-0, and in the third, sophomore Tyler Rano (Auburn, Mass.) extended the lead to 2-0 nothing with an RBI base hit of her own.
Bridgewater scored its first run of the day in the top of the fourth inning, when freshman Alexandra Taylor (Hebron, Conn.) drove home classmate Emma Healy (Plymouth, Mass.), cutting Worcester State's advantage to 2-1.
The Lancers responded in a big way in the bottom of the inning by putting up a three-spot to take a 5-1 lead. Junior Ashley Lynch (Shrewsbury, Mass.), senior Katie Polselli (Charlton, Mass.), and Rano all had RBI singles in the frame to extend Worcester's advantage.
Bridgewater tallied single runs in the sixth and seventh on RBI hits from Megan Sharon (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Kacie Carvalho (Fairhaven, Mass.), but a huge 7-5-4 double play in the seventh quelled Bridgewater's comeback bid to help Frisch close it out. On a fly ball to left fielder Kristen Huston (Spencer, Mass.) with nobody out and runners on second and third, Huston came up firing to the plate after making the play, but the runner on third base stopped after tagging up and returned to the bag. Polselli made a leaping cut-off and fired to Samantha Stake (Worcester, Mass.) who tagged out the runner trying to retreat to second for the double play.
Two batters later, Frisch induced a fly out to Haley Scola (Worcester, Mass.) in right field to finish off the her second win of the season. Frisch went the distance, throwing a whopping 161 pitches over seven innings, allowing three earned on nine hits while striking out four Bears. Junior Natalie Sorrenti (Bridgewater, Mass.) took the loss for Bridgewater State, allowing four earned on 13 hits while striking out four.
Offensively, Worcester State received clutch hitting all game long, with four of the team's five runs coming with two outs. Every player in Worcester State's lineup recorded at least one hit in the win, led by Rano, who went 3-for-3 at the dish.
Game 2 - Bridgewater State 4, Worcester State 3
The Lancers watched a one-run lead slip away in the top of the seventh inning as the Bears battled back to earn a split in game two of the doubleheader.
Bridgewater State got on the board first in the top half of the second inning, as a pair of unearned runs came across for the Bears. Both runs were scored on Worcester State errors, which would ultimately end up proving very costly down the stretch.
Bridgewater freshman pitcher Kelley Reichert (Milford, Mass.) was cruising right along for the Bears in the circle. After allowing just three hits and striking out a pair over the first four innings, the Lancers finally got to the rookie in the bottom of the fifth inning. After a single from Maglione and a walk from Lynch, junior Kaiulani Ennis (Swansea, Mass.) and Polselli roped back-to-back two-out doubles to put Worcester State ahead 3-2.
Bridgewater State was down to its final out in the top of the seventh inning, but a costly wild pitch advanced runners to second and third, and senior Jenny Heller (Taunton, Mass.) took advantage, bringing them both home with an RBI single.
The Lancers brought the top of the order up in the seventh inning, but Reichert forced three straight flyouts to end the game. She would earn her second win of the season with a final line of three earned runs on seven hits and a pair of strikeouts. Worcester State's loss went to sophomore Liv Larson (Marlborough, Mass.) despite one of her strongest outings of the season. She finished allowing two earned runs on six hits in the loss while striking out a pair.
Worcester State will turn around and face UMass Dartmouth tomorrow afternoon for a doubleheader at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. The Bears will host Rhode Island College tomorrow for a doubleheader, with first pitches scheduled for 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.