NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass.---UMass Boston struggled to get their bats going in their Little East Conference opener against UMass Dartmouth (4-10) in a 4-0 loss, but a pair of freshmen helped the Beacons (8-7) earn their first conference win by an 8-0 score in six innings in the second game at the UMass Darmouth Athletic Complex Sunday.
Freshmen pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) had a series of first Sunday in the second game, including her first Little East Conference victory and her first collegiate complete game shutout. Battery mate Amanda Perry (Worcester, Mass.) provided more than enough run support with a grand slam, her fifth home run of the season.
In the first game, the Beacons struggled to get anything going against senior pitcher Brittany Eldridge (Raynham, Mass.). UMass Boston scratched out just three hits over seven innings and only managed to get six at bats above the minimum. Eldridge struck out five and walked just one batter for the Corsairs.
She also made an impact at the plate, as she knocked in the first run of the game and later scored to help UMass Dartmouth jump out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning. The Corsairs would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth against Kara Willis (Burillville, R.I.) to account for the final score.
Willis pitched six innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits and three walks. Willis also added two strikeouts to bring her to 23 on the season, more than twice her 2011-12 total (11).
Things would turn around for the Beacons in the second game behind Zullo, Perry and second baseman Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.).
Zullo (5-2) won her third consecutive start behind her most impressive performance of the year. Zullo scattered two hits and a walk over six innings and struck out three Corsairs.
The game flew by over the first three innings with neither team managing to get on the board. UMass Boston would jump out to their first lead behind a Corsairs error. With Lisa Polsonetti (Revere, Mass.) on third and Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) on second, Capra singled to bring both runners home to give the Beacons a 2-0 edge.
The Beacons would extend their lead in the fifth. Sophomore Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) led off with a walk and Natalia Bouyea (East Longmeadow, Mass.) followed with a single up the middle. Three batters later, Maria Nasta (Andover, Mass.) was hit by a pitch. Perry then stepped up to the plate and hit her team-leading fifth homer of the season over the left field fence.
UMass Boston added two more unearned runs in the sixth to cap off the scoring for the day.
The Beacons will return to non-conference play when they take on MIT Tuesday in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m.