Softball wins 20th of the season with a comeback at Amherst

Morgan Hartranft '22 (Josh McKee photo)
Morgan Hartranft '22 (Josh McKee photo)

The Hamilton College Continentals erased an early two-run deficit and went on to post a 6-5 NESCAC West Division win against the Amherst College Mammoths in Amherst, Mass., on Friday evening.

The score was tied 2-2 heading into the seventh inning when Hamilton broke the game open with four runs on three hits, two hit batters, a walk and an error. Liz Brautigam '19 and Anna Rasmussen '21 started the inning with consecutive singles to center field. A groundout by Caroline Chivily '19 moved the runners to second and third and Caitlin Berreitter '20 loaded the bases with a walk. Vicky Dunn '22 forced a fielding error that scored Brautigam and Ashleah Yzaguirre '19 followed with a two-run single to left field. Back-to-back hit batters loaded the bases again and then scored Dunn from third base for the 6-2 lead heading into the home half of the inning.

The Mammoths (16-5, 3-1 NESCAC West) refused to go down quietly on their home field. With two outs, Amherst managed to score three runs on one hit, two walks and three errors. Helen Lin '19 recorded the final out when she snatched a line drive at second base to secure Hamilton's first victory over Amherst since April 9, 2016.

Yzaguirre guided Hamilton (20-6, 3-4) at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two runs batted in. The Continentals' other four hits came from Berreitter, Brautigam, Rasmussen and Kendall Searcy '20.

Morgan Hartranft '22 started in the pitching circle, left after the fifth, returned in the seventh with two outs and the bases loaded, and earned her first save of the season. Claire O'Brien '21 (4-1) got the win with 1.2 innings of work. Hartranft and O'Brien did not allow a single earned run. Hartranft started the day with a 2.07 earned run average and she now ranks third in the NESCAC at 1.91. O'Brien reduced her ERA from 2.21 to 2.12, placing her fifth in the conference.

Amherst scored its first two runs in the bottom of the first inning with two hits, two walks and an error. Nicole Trezza led off with a walk and Sammy Salustri singled through the left side of the infield. The Mammoths attempted a double steal, but Brautigam threw out Trezza trying for third base. Trezza leads the NESCAC with 16 stolen bases and was caught stealing for the first time this season. Audrey Hansen followed with a walk that put runners on first and second before Hartranft struck out Kate Kopatic swinging for the second out. A fielding error loaded the bases and a single to left field by Andrea Sanders scored both runs. Hartranft forced a fly ball to left field that Chivily captured for the final out of the inning.

The Mammoths put two runners on with two outs in the second inning but Hartranft struck out Hansen swinging to end the threat. Hartranft struck out Hansen again in the fourth inning, leaving another two runners stranded at first and third.

Hamilton capitalized on two hits and one walk in the top of the fifth to tie the score at 2-2. Searcy ended Lorena Ukanwa's no-hitter with a leadoff single to right field. Ellie Demaree '22 came in to pinch run for Searcy and moved to second on Lin's walk, and both runners advanced on Brautigam's sacrifice bunt. Rasmussen dropped down a pinch-hit squeeze bunt and Demaree slid home safely. Lin immediately scored on Chivily's sacrifice fly to left field. Berreitter followed with the final hit of the inning, a single to center field for the 100th hit of her Hamilton career.

The Continentals defense came up big in the bottom of the fifth, stranding two runners and keeping the score tied. Berrietter knocked down a hard-hit ball heading towards the hole between third and shortstop, Searcy picked up the loose ball and chucked Kopatic out at first base for the first out. Amherst put runners on the corners after a double by Sage Innerarit and single by Sanders. Alyson Plaman sailed a ball out to left field but Chivily quickly threw the ball home and froze Innerarit at third base. Lin ended the inning when she outran a foul ball down the right-field line and made the catch before colliding with the fence.

The Continentals and the Mammoths conclude the three-game series with a noon doubleheader on Saturday in Amherst.