BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston softball (8-13) used a pair of last-inning rallies to earn their first sweep of the year Wednesday, with victories of 9-8 (8 innings) and 10-3 (5 innings) over Framingham State University (8-14) at the UMB Softball Field.
Senior Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) was the hero in game one for the Beacons, finishing 4-4 with two runs and three RBI, including the game-winning walk-off single with the bases loaded, two outs and a full-count in the bottom of the eighth.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth in game two, with the sun quickly falling, UMass Boston nearly earned a mercy-rule victory, as the Beacons sent 13 batters to the plate and recorded eight hits and eight runs in a 10-3 victory.
Game One: UMass Boston 9, Framingham State 8
UMass Boston jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 6-2 in game number one, before needing a pair of late-game rallies against the Rams.
The Beacons were one out away from earning a 6-2 victory, before a muffed popup led to five Framingham State runs crossing the board in the top of the seventh. The Beacons tied the game in the bottom half of the inning with a single run, before falling behind 8-7 in the top of the eighth.
After loading the bases with two outs, Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) was hit by a pitch to tie the game 8-8 and bring Vecchiet to the plate. On the sixth pitch of her at-bat, Vecchiet lined a single into the right-center field gap to plate Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) and start the Beacons' celebration.
While Vecchiet had a huge game, including hitting the first home run of her collegiate career, she wasn't the only Beacon to enjoy a big game. Cleanup hitter Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) finished 2-2 with a run and three RBI, and hit a home run of her own. Junior Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) went 2-3 with three runs and two RBI, as she extended her hitting streak to 10 games, with hits in both ends of the doubleheader.
Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) came up big in relief for the Beacons, allowing eight hits and six unearned runs to pick up the victory. Zullo whiffed six Rams batters and stranded three Framingham State runners between the seventh and eighth to keep her team in the game.
Helen Falzone (2-3, one run and three RBI) and Danielle Belliveau (2-4, one run, two RBI) each had key run-scoring hits for the Rams, who saw their losing streak against the Beacons extend to four in a row.
UMass Boston started the game red-hot, as the Beacons leaped out to a 3-0 lead after just three batters in the bottom of the first. Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) led off the inning with a triple and came home on an RBI single from Bove to shallow left-center. Bove was able to stroll home one batter later, as Vecchiet cleared the left-field fence to make it 3-0.
Framingham State cut the deficit to 3-2 in the third, as Belliveau hit a hard liner to center field to score two with one out. Despite only allowing four hits and two runs over three innings, that would be it for Beacons' starter Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.).
The Beacons struck for three more runs in the fifth, when each of the first three batters came across to score. Bove led off with a single and moved over to second base on a hard hit single by Vecchiet to center. Raczkowski made it 6-2, as she crushed the first pitch she saw over the center-field fence.
After allowing just two hits and a walk in her first three innings of work, the Rams finally got to Zullo in the seventh. The Rams loaded the bases with two outs, thanks to an error, a single and a hit by pitch. From there, the Beacons' lack of communication nearly cost them the game. MASCAC Player of the Week Shelby Phillips popped up on the first-base line, but three Beacons watched the ball fall in front of them, for an RBI single.
The misplay opened the flood-gates, as Falzone followed with a bases-clearing, three-run triple to center to tie the game at 6-6. Senior pitcher Andrea Smith (1-9) followed with a soft single to left field that plated Falzone to give the Rams a brief 7-6 lead.
UMass Boston countered in the bottom of the inning: as Bove was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a walk, to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) RBI groundout.
Framingham State grabbed the lead back in the eighth, as Kourtney Kacian, who started the inning on second base, came in to score on a Beacons' throwing error. With runners on first and third, Zullo induced a soft popup to third to get out of the inning without further damage.
The Beacons earned their second walk-off win in as many days, moments later. After loading the bases with two down, Bove tied the game on her second hit by pitch in as many at-bats, and Vecchiet followed with a liner to right-center for a 9-8 Beacons victory.
Game Two: UMass Boston 10, Framingham State 3
After a slow start to game two, UMass Boston's bats came alive in the final inning to help the Beacons earn their first two-game winning streak of the year.
The Beacons struck for eight of the 16 hits in the bottom of the fifth inning, to help the team reach double-digit runs for the first time all year. Freshman Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) led the way by going 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI, while Bove went a perfect 3-for-3 with two runs and one RBI. Capra added two hits and registered her second three RBI game in the past three contests.
Shepherd settled down after a slow start to her first collegiate home start to pitch a gem for UMass Boston. The Norwood, Mass. Native allowed four hits, three walks and three earned runs over five innings in her third collegiate start. After giving up two hits and three walks and all three runs in the first, the freshman scattered just two hits over her final four innings of work.
Tiffany Agostini finished 1-for-2 with two RBI for the Rams, while sophomore Emily Kattau (0-1) took the loss, by allowing 16 hits and 10 earned over five innings.
Framingham State took advantage of Shepherd's wildness in the first, as the Rams took a 3-0 lead after just seven batters. With the bases loaded and one out, Agostini singled up the middle to plate Phillips and Tiffanie Marsh to give the Rams a 2-0 lead. Smith followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
UMass Boston began chipping into the deficit in the second, as Mitsiaris led off with a double off the wall in left-center and came into score on a Capra sacrifice fly. Kottau shut the Beacons down from there, as she managed to strand the bases loaded in both the first and second innings.
The Beacons tacked on a second run in the bottom of the fourth-after loading the bases for a third time. Scola sent a ball just short of the warning track in center to easily score Bove, but the Beacons would once again leave runners in scoring position.
After a quick top of the fifth, UMass Boston knew they needed a rally if they were going to earn a sweep.
The Beacons had one last flurry in them, as the first five Beacons singled and Mitsiaris and Capra each recorded two hits in the inning to help UMass Boston cruise to a 10-3 win.
Mitsiaris opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a single from Haley Dutton (Milton, Mass.). Capra scored Mitsiaris and moved Dutton all the way to third with a single that just barely stayed fair over the third-base bag. Morse gave the Beacons their first lead of the game at 4-3, as she followed with an RBI single to center field. Bove tacked on another run with an RBI single and Raczkowski worked a walk with the bases-loaded to make it 6-3 Beacons.
Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) added a hard-hit RBI single through the left-side and Mitsiaris put the game out of reach with a two-run single to the wall in center-field. Junior Abby Goulet (Wales, Maine) came in to score on the single, which was her first collegiate run.
Capra closed out the run-scoring with her second RBI single of the inning, to give UMass Boston their largest win of the season.
UMass Boston will look to improve upon their 3-1 record on their 12-game homestand Saturday, when they Beacons host Eastern Connecticut State University at Noon in a Little East Conference doubleheader.