March 29, 2014

Softball returns to action with split against Husson

ORONO, Maine – The Brandeis University softball team saw action for the first time in two weeks, taking on the Husson University Eagles at the University of Maine's Mahaney Dome. The Judges won the opener, 9-4, while Husson took game two, 6-2. Brandeis moved to 10-6 with the split, while the Eagles are now 6-4.

Junior Cori Coleman (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) was the offensive star for the Judges. The catcher in the first game and playing first base in the second, Coleman went 5-for-7 with five RBI, four runs scored and a pair of home runs. They were the first of the season and the fourth and fifth round-trippers of her career.

In the first game, Brandeis scored first, but had to play catch-up. In the top of the first inning, junior CF Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) singled and reached second on an error to lead off the game. She came home on an RBI double by classmate and shortstop Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline). 

Husson grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second, scoring four times against Brandeis senior Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee). The Eagles had four hits in the frame, all coming with two outs. An RBI double by  LF Haley Spiers tied the game at 1-1, while pitcher Kayla Merrill helped her own cause with a two-run triple. Merrill scored on a hit by RF Allison Hill to give Husson a 4-1 lead.

Nolan would settled down and allow just two Eagle hits the rest of the way. Brandeis clawed back into the game in the top of the third on a two-run single by Kamber. The Judges tied it in the fourth, though they had an opportunity to blow the game open in that frame. Coleman doubled to lead off and scored on a single by junior Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joseph's). Despite one more hit and an error in the frame, two fielder's choices kept the game tied at 4-4.

The Judges reclaimed the lead in the top of the fifth inning thanks to wildness on Merrill's part. After the Husson hurler got the first two outs, Coleman and Cote each singled. Merrill then issued back-to-back walks to senior Leah McWilliams (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial) and Genovese, with the latter providing the game-winning RBI. The Judges added three insurance runs in the sixth on Coleman's first blast of the day, while Kamber plated a run in the seventh to give her a career-high four RBI in the game.

Coleman finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and career-high three runs scored. She also tied her career-bests for hits and RBI in a game. Nolan earned her second win of the season with seven innings of six-hit ball. She allowed four earned runs and four walks, but struck out a season-high eight. Her first complete game of the season was the 30th of her career.

In the second game, Brandeis again got on the board in the first inning as Genovese got things started. She singled, stole second and moved to third on a Kamber single. Husson starter Amanda Ryan got Nolan out on a come-backer before Coleman drove in her fourth RBI of the day to open the scoring. Husson broke through against Nolan in the bottom of the third, when catcher Casey Lopes singled to lead off, was bunted to second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Spiers responded with a  single to left that tied the game before getting put out trying to get back to the bag.

The teams traded three quick half-innings before the Eagles took the lead for good in the fourth against a new Brandeis pitcher, rookie Emma Krulick (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park). The first three Husson batters to face Krulick reached, with Lopes doubling home shortstop Lyndsey Merrill. Krulick limited the damage, however, getting two fly balls and a line-out to minimize the damage.

In the fifth, Brandeis stranded two runners, and Husson made the Judges pay, scoring two runs on four hits. Lyndsey Merrill singled to drive in what proved to be the winning run, while 1B Chelsea Brennan knocked in the home team's fourth run with a double. Krulick issued a walk to load the bases, but again got out of the frame with two fly outs.

Brandeis got one run back with Coleman's solo homer in the top of the sixth, but Husson got two more in the bottom of the inning against Judge rookie Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass./Somerset-Berkley Regional) to close out the scoring.

Coleman's 2-3 performance with two RBI and home run was the Judges' top  performance in game two. Genovese's stolen base in the second game was the 98th of her career. Krulick suffered the loss in the circle, the first of her collegiate career, to fall to 2-1 on the season.

Brandeis is scheduled to make its first home appearance this week, with Wellesley on the schedule for Wednesday, April 2 and Endicott on Thursday, April 3. Both are doubleheaders slated for 3 p.m. start.