April 21, 2012

Softball settles for split at Clark

Worcester, Mass. (courtesy Clark sports information) Despite a one-hit, seven-strikeout performance by senior Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./Harriton) in the opener, the Brandeis softball settled for a split today as the Judges lost, 1-0, in game one before rallying behind Lauren Porcaro's (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) grand slam to take the second game, 8-3.  

In the opener, pinch runner Molly Clark (North Kingstown, R.I.) scampered home on a wild pitch to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh in the first game and Clark University head coach Linda Wage won her 400th career gameWage, who also has 271 wins as Clark's field hockey head coach, has been the Cougars' mentor for the last 24 seasons.

The day's opener proved to be a pitching duel as the teams combined for just three hits – none of which came before the fifth inning.

Brandeis finally broke through with a base hit in the fifth when Porcaro led off the inning with a double. Nicole Meuse (Hudson, Mass.) worked her way out of trouble, retiring the next three batters to escape the inning unscathed.

Clark's lone hit came in the sixth when Mel Melkonian (Worcester, Mass.) doubled down the left field line with one out, but was left stranded their by Miller.

The Cougars got the winning run on base via a walk drawn by Shawna Amatucci (Shrewsbury, Mass.). After Stefanie Kettenacker (Hastings-on-the-Hudson, N.Y.) sacrificed pinch-runner Clark over the second, Maureen Coakley (Worcester, Mass.) drew a walk of her own. A wild pitch then put runners on second and third with two outs when pinch hitter Heather Figula (Brick, N.J.) was at the plate. Another wild pitch then brought Clark in for the game's lone run.

The second game was much different however, as Porcaro blasted a grand slam in the first for the Judges, and Brandeis never looked back.

Clark got single runs in the second on a Tatiana Chunis (Sutton, Mass.) homerun and then another on a Melkonian RBI double, but the Judges added two in the fourth on a two-run double by Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley).

Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) went the first five innings for Brandeis, allowing five hits and three earned runs to move to 6-2 on the season.

Hayley Buckheit (Camden Hills, Maine) lasted just the first inning for Clark before giving way to Figula, who tossed four innings.

In addition to hits by Chunis and Melkonian, Clark also got a double from Erin Murphy (Boxboro, Mass.) and base hits from Kettenacker and Kiah Murphy (Westport, Mass.).

Clark wraps up its season at 17-17 overall, while the Judges sit at 19-13 and return to action with a single game on Sunday against Tufts.