Game One Rally Helps Softball Earn Split With Brandeis

BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston Softball (9-16) rallied from five runs down in game number one to earn their fourth-ever victory over Brandeis University (15-13) in a non-conference doubleheader split Friday evening.

The Beacons who trail the all-time series 27-4, fell behind 5-0 in the second inning of game number one, before coming all the way back to secure an 8-7 victory. Brandeis responded with an 8-0 mercy-rule victory in five innings in game number two, behind Nikki Cote's first complete-game shutout of the season.

Freshman Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) and junior Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) led the Beacons with three hits and two RBI on the day.

Game One: UMass Boston 8, Brandeis University 7

UMass Boston used a four-run fifth inning and tremendous perseverance from junior pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) to earn a game one victory.

Zullo allowed seven hits, five walks and seven runs, but just one of the runs were earned. The junior right-hander also struck out five batters and kept the Judges scoreless over the final three frames.

Mitsiaris finished game one 2-3 with two runs and two RBI, while Capra ended the contest 2-2 with two RBI triples and a run scored. Senior third baseman Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) had one her best games of the season, with one hit in one at-bat and a season-high three runs scored.

Brandeis raced out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning thanks to the first of four Beacons errors. With the bases loaded and one out after two walks and a Beacons' error, Anya Kamber lined a double into left-center field to plate two runners.

The Judges took advantage of another key mistake by the Beacons in the second inning to push their lead to 5-0. With two runners on and two down, Liana Moss lined a fly ball down the left-field line that just barely ricocheted off the foul pole, for her team-leading seventh home run of the season and a 5-0 advantage.

UMass Boston began their comeback in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of their own. Scola started the inning by being hit by a pitch and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Mitsiaris drove Scola home with an RBI single through the middle and came home two batters later when Capra belted an RBI triple into the left-center field gap. With Capra on third and two outs, Brandeis pitcher Melissa Nolan unleashed a wild pitch, and Capra scampered home to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Nolan (5-2) dropped her second-straight game, after allowing seven hits, six walks and eight earned runs through 4.2 innings.

After Brandeis scores single runs in the third and fourth innings to push their lead to 7-3, UMass Boston began their comeback in earnest in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Nolan walked the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but UMass Boston only managed one run, when Scola trotted home on a wild pitch with two down. Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) nearly cut into the deficit further, but her hard line drive was right at the third baseman-who made the play to get the Judges out of the fourth.

The Beacons tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take their first lead of the contest.

Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) started off the rally with her team-leading third home run of the season over the left-field fence with one out.

Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) followed with a walk and moved over to second on a Scola bunt single, and to third on a double-steal. With two runners in scoring position and one down, Mitsiaris put down a perfect suicide squeeze, with Svenson just barely beating the throw home to cut it to 7-6. Mitsiaris caught the Judges sleeping though and advanced all the way to second on the play-while drawing a throw from the catcher. The throw down to second wasn't in time and allowed Scola to dash home to tie the game 7-7. 

Two batters later, Capra crushed another RBI triple to left-center field that plated Mitsiaris and made it 8-7 in favor of the host Beacons.

Zullo would take over from there, as she allowed just one base-runner in both the sixth and seventh inning, en route to her team-high fifth win of the year.

Game Two: Brandeis 8, UMass Boston 0 (5 Innings)

Cote was the story in game number two, as the junior pitcher struck out seven and scattered five singles over five innings in her complete-game shutout.

Madison Sullivan led the charge offensively with two hits, two runs and an RBI, as the Judges took advantage of four more Beacons errors to score six unearned runs.

UMass Boston starter Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.) took the loss, after allowing six hits and eight runs, two earned, while striking out two. 

Sullivan helped the Judges get out to another 2-0 lead in the first, as she singled up the middle to score Kamber to push the lead to 2-0.

The Judges tacked on another run in the fourth, as Sullivan and Nolan recorded back-to-back doubles to push the visitor's lead to 3-0.

With the sun setting over the UMB Softball Field, Brandeis scored five more runs in the fifth inning to ensure a mercy-rule victory.

Cori Coleman and Kamber each recorded RBI singles in the inning and the Judges took advantage of three Beacons' errors to push their lead out to 8-0.

UMass Boston had their best chance to score in the fourth inning, when they loaded the bases with two down, but Cote was up to the task. Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.), Svenson and Mitsiaris all singled, but Cote struck out a pair of batters to get out of the jam.

The Beacons will return to action Saturday at Noon when they host Plymouth State University on Senior Day. UMass Boston will honor Vecchiet and Scola after game number two in a special Senior Day Ceremony.