Western New England Sweeps Softball

Western New England Sweeps Softball

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A grand slam from sophomore Jenn Luba (Plymouth, Conn.) helped power the Golden Bears of Western New England University to an 8-2 victory in game two to complete a Commonwealth Coast Conference doubleheader sweep over the Wentworth Institute of Technology softball team. The Leopards dropped game one by the score of 8-3.

With the wins, Western New England improves to 21-13 (14-2), while Wentworth falls to 4-23 (0-16).

Game One: Western New England 8, Wentworth 3
With runners on first and second, senior McKenzie Pezze (Albany, N.Y.) brought in the game's first run on an RBI single down the right field line. In the next at-bat, senior Alexis Bukowski (Wallingford, Conn.) loaded up the bases with a single into center. The Golden Bears capitalized with the bases loaded and took the 2-0 lead with senior Heidi Grieger's (Hyde Park, N.Y.) RBI single into the left field gap.

In the bottom of the second, the Golden Bears propelled themselves to a 5-0 lead on a three-run home run from Pezze that landed over the fence in left center field.

Wentworth got on the board in the top of the fourth to bring the score to 5-1. Sophomore Vanessa Weymouth (Fremont, N.H.) reached first on an error, stole second and advanced to third on a single up the middle by sophomore Rachel Willcutt (Tilton, N.H.). The first Wentworth run crossed home on sophomore Haley Sabino's (Topsfield, Mass.) ground ball to the second baseman.

Pezze started off the Golden Bears' half of the fourth with a single through the left side and made it to second as Bukowski reached first on a defensive miscue from the third baseman. Still with no outs in the inning, freshman Giovanna Russo (East Haven, Conn.) reached on a fielder's choice that allowed Pezze to plate and put the score at 6-1.

The Leopards continued to chip away at the Golden Bears' lead in the fifth and cut the score to four at 6-2. Junior Kelsey Gorski (Killingworth, Conn.) singled through the left side to begin the inning for Wentworth and put the second Leopards' run on the board after Weymouth's infield single to the shortstop.

Western New England upped its lead back to five in the bottom of the fifth on a one out RBI double into the left field gap from senior Heather Fecteau (Biddeford, Maine). Fecteau's double allowed sophomore Jen Zazzarino (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) to plate the seventh Golden Bears' run and push the lead to 7-2.

Still, Wentworth kept plugging away and shrinking Western New England's lead. In the top of the sixth, sophomore Megan Berryman (Middleboro, Mass.) launched her first career home run over the left field fence to bring the Leopards within four at 7-3. The Leopards threatened for more with senior Heather Pinkston (Concord, Calif.) at third with two outs, but a strike out concluded the inning.

The Golden Bears put the game away in the bottom of the sixth as they added their eighth and final run on an RBI double into left field by junior Katie Wood (Westport, Mass.) to bring the score to 8-3. The Leopards were retired in order at the top of the seventh as the Golden Bears came away with the 8-3 game one win.

Grieger earned the win for Western New England and allowed two hits and one run with three strikeouts through four innings. Pezze paced the Golden Bears going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, one home run and four RBI, while senior Tara Cabral (Kingston, Mass.) went 3-for-4 as well with a double and one run scored.

Freshman Hayley Rutkey (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) was tagged with the loss as she allowed eight runs (six earned) on 12 hits with two walks and two strikeouts through six innings. Weymouth paced the Leopards going 2-for-4 with one run scored and one RBI, while Gorksi went 2-for-3 with one run scored and Berryman went 1-for-3 with one home run, plated one run and had one RBI.

Game Two: Western New England 8, Wentworth 2
Neither Wentworth nor Western New England were able to get a run across until the Golden Bears had a three-run third inning that put them up 3-0.

Western New England's first run of the inning crossed on Fecteau's RBI infield single to the shortstop and reached third on a single from Pezze. Fecteau then plated the second Golden Bears run as a defensive miscue by the shortstop allowed Bukowski to safely reach first. In the next at-bat, Pezze tacked on the third run of the inning as Luba sent an RBI single down the right field line.

The Leopards had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fourth as Berryman began the frame with a triple into right field, but could not advance as three ground ball outs concluded the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Western New England added an additional four runs to push the lead to 7-0 on Luba's grand slam. Fecteau got on base with an infield single to the shortstop and reached third on Pezze's double down the right field line. Bukowski then safely reached first on an error. With the bases full and no outs, Luba smashed a grand slam into center field that allowed four runs to cross.

Wentworth finally made its way on the board in the top of the sixth to put the score at 7-1. Willcutt started off the inning with a single into right and advanced to second after a fielding error allowed Berryman to reach. After Pinkston reached on a fielder's choice and loaded up the bases, Berryman plated the Leopards' first run on an error by the pitcher.

The eighth run for Western New England crossed home plate on freshman Samantha Pelow's (Torrington, Conn.) single into center field in the bottom of the sixth. Wentworth added its second run in the top of the seventh on Willcutt's ground ball to the shortstop that scored Rutkey and brought the score to 8-2. The Leopards could not get any more runs across as the Golden Bears took game two, 8-2.

Junior Samantha DiGiovanni (Shirley, N.Y.) earned the win for Western New England and allowed just three hits with one walk and two strikeouts through five innings. Luba powered the Golden Bears and went 2-for-3 with a grand slam, one run scored and five RBI, while Fecteau went 4-for-4 with a double, three runs scored and one RBI, Pezze went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.

Freshman Erica Norquist (Rutland, Mass.) took the loss and pitched six innings and allowed eight runs (five earned) on 14 hits with one strikeout. Willcutt led the Leopards and went 2-for-4 with a triple and one RBI.

Wentworth wraps up its regular season on Sunday at Endicott at 12:00 p.m., while Western New England also plays Sunday and faces the University of New England at 12:00 p.m.