Rivier falls short in quest for ECAC Championship
Story Courtesy of Brandeis Sports Information
WALTHAM, Mass. – On the first day of action at the 2012 Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III New England Softball Tournament championship round at Brandeis, third-seeded Endicott College defeated No. 7 Simmons, 9-1, and the top-seeded Judges, 6-1, to advance to tomorrow's championship round. Simmons defeated Rivier, 6-0, to stay alive in the tournament's first elimination game, after Brandeis had opened the day with a 7-5 win over the fifth-seeded Raiders.
GAME 1: BRANDEIS 7, RIVIER 5
In the first game of the day, Brandeis jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings and extended it to 7-1 through six before holding off a late Rivier rally to escape with a 7-5 win.
The Judges opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when senior CF Lauren Porcaro (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) hit an infield single to plate classmate 3B Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley), who had hit a one-out double. Brandeis had Rivier hurler Lauren Beatty (Sherman, Conn./New Milford) on the ropes early, but the sophomore left the bases loaded in the first and third innings and got Grimm to line into a double play in the second.
Brandeis finally broke through in the fourth, scoring four runs on just two hits and only one ball leaving in the infield. Beatty issued three walks in the inning, including a lead-off pass to junior RF Casey Ducinski (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury). Rookie 1B Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) followed with a bunt single, then beat the Raider shortstop to second base on a slow roller by Grimm. Beatty then issued bases-loaded walks to SS Marianne Specker (So. Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) and Porcaro before rookie DP Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) singled to right. Beatty retired the next three hitters, but also fired a wild pitch that allowed Specker to score Brandeis's fifth run of the game.
Rivier finally broke through in the sixth against Brandeis reliever Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) on a solo home run by junior catcher Marissa Mercier (No. Smithfield, R.I./No. Smithfield), her 10th of the season. Brandeis got two back in the bottom of the inning when Porcaro walked, stole second and third and scored on an illegal pitch by Raider sophomore Hillary Tarr (No. Easton, Mass./Cardinal Spellman). Nolan drove in Kamber, who also walked and had a steal, to make the game 7-1.
Rivier made the game interesting in the top of the seventh, when Mercier's infield single scored Nicole Peacock (Warwick, R.I./Prout), who had walked and advanced to third on a single wild pitch. Two batters later, Raider senior Karen Waterman (Rutland, Vt./Rutland) took Nolan deep for a three-run shot, cutting the lead to 7-5, but Brandeis senior Caroline Miller (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./Harriton) returned to the game to get the final out.
Offensively, Brandeis got 10 of their 12 hits from the top five batters in the order, led by Kamber's 3-for-3 performance and Porcaro, who reached base in all four player appearances, going 2-for-2 with two walks and two RBI. Rivier was paced by Mercier, who went 4-for-4 with her two-run homer, and Waterman, who drove in a game-high three runs with her late blast.
Miller picked up the win to improve to 15-7 on the season, just the sixth 15-win season in school history. She tossed 4.1 innings, allowing four hits and striking out four. Beatty suffered just her third loss of the season, falling to 11-3, allowing 11 hits and seven earned runs over 5.1 innings. She walked five and struck out three.
GAME THREE: SIMMONS 6, RIVIER 0 (Rivier eliminated)
In the first elimination game of the weekend Simmons rookie Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.) tossed her 11th shutout of the season to defeat Rivier, 6-0.
Backhaus scattered seven hits over seven innings, striking out four and walking one to improve to 15-8 on the season. She allowed just two runners past second base for the entire game, getting a heads-up 4-3-2 double play in the first and getting two key strikeouts after the Raider's Nicole Peacock singled and stole second and third with none away in the third.
The Sharks would break through with three unearned runs in the fourth inning against Rivier's Hillary Tarr when rookie catcher Victoria Luongo (Medford, Mass.) drove in the game's first run and junior LF Ari King (Westford, Mass.) followed with a two-run single to center field. Simmons doubled their lead in the third courtesy Christina Mulcahy's second home run of the day, this time a no-doubt-about it shot to center field. That was enough for Backhaus, who allowed just two base runners the rest of the way. Simmons improved to 26-17 in advancing to day two, while Rivier ended their campaign at 26-14.