No. 22 Amherst inches past Hamilton in softball series opener

Kendall Searcy ’20 (Michael P. Doherty photo)
Kendall Searcy ’20 (Michael P. Doherty photo)

The nationally ranked No. 22 Amherst College Mammoths scored all seven runs in the final two innings to complete a 7-5 comeback victory against the Hamilton College Continentals in the opening game of a NESCAC West Division series at Hamilton's Loop Road Softball/Baseball Complex on Friday evening.

Hamilton and Amherst complete the series with a doubleheader on Saturday. Due to projected inclement weather, the doubleheader start time moved up to 9 a.m.

Caroline Chivily '19 and Kendall Searcy '20 both had one hit and one run batted in. Hamilton's (11-20 overall, 2-8 NESCAC West) other hits came from Liz Brautigam '19 and Jodi Weiss '19, and Phoebe Collins '18 batted in one run.

Dez DePaulis '19 continued her stellar work in the pitching circle for the Continentals, allowing five runs (one earned) on 10 hits and two walks in 6.1 innings. In her last three appearances, DePaulis holds a 1.24 earned run average through 17.2 innings.

Sammy Salustri was a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with a walk and one RBI, and she scored two runs. RonnieMarie Falasco hit two doubles and scored twice, and Alyson Plaman collected two RBIs with one hit. Lorena Ukanwa started the game and allowed five runs (one earned) on three hits and she had six strikeouts. Gina Pagan allowed just one hit in the final 2.2 innings for the win.

Amherst's Ukanwa was in the middle of a perfect game when the Continentals' offense ignited with five runs on four hits to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Brautigam led off the inning with a single down the left field line, and Ashleah Yzaguirre '19 put down a sacrifice bunt and reached first on the fielding error. Helen Lin '19 advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Chivily followed with a run-scoring single up the middle. Yzaguirre took off with the pitch from third, Collins dropped down a bunt for a successful squeeze play and when the pitcher misplayed the ball Collins reached first base safely. Weiss then loaded the bases with a blooper just inside the left field foul line. The Mammoths' Pagan entered the game in relief, but the Hamilton bats were not done. Chivily scored when Caitlin Berreitter '20 hit a grounder to the shortstop, Collins scored on Searcy's single, and a groundout by Emily Fraser '20 scored Weiss for the final run of the inning.

Amherst scored three runs in the third on three hits and one Hamilton error to cut its deficit to 7-3 going into the final inning where the Mammoths tacked on four runs on four hits and an error. Audrey Hansen got it started with a single, Falasco doubled to left center field, and Hansen scored on Kyra Naftel's single up the middle. Andrea Sanders lined out to third base for the second out of the inning, and Salustri was intentionally walked to load the bases. Palman hit in the eventual winning run with a two-RBI single to center field, and Salustri scored the insurance run from second base in a failed pickoff attempt on Palman at first.  

Weiss was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the seventh to put a runner on for Hamilton, but back-to-back groundouts left her stranded.