SALEM, Mass.--After averaging over six runs a game in Florida, the Beacons (5-4) struggled to score in their return to New England Thursday with a pair of losses (3-0, 7-5) at Salem State (9-3).
UMass Boston failed to get on the board for the first nine innings Thursday as they dropped their first true road games of the season. When they finally scored in the fourth inning of the second game, the deficit was too large to overcome.
In the opener against the Vikings, freshmen pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) allowed just three runs on eight hits but the team's offense sputtered behind her. The Beacons managed just seven baserunners in six innings, with freshmen Amanda Perry (Worcester, Mass.) the only player to reach base more than once with her two walks.
Salem State pitcher Alyssa Bryan earned the victory allowing just three hits and three walks in six and two-thirds innings.
UMass Boston created just two scoring threats in the opener in the top of the fourth and fifth innings. Both times the Beacons had runners at second and third base with two outs before Bryan quieted the potential rally.
The Beacons woke up offensively in the second game with 12 hits and five runs but the rally once again fell just short.
Freshmen catcher Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) continued her strong start with two hits, two RBIS and a run to lead the Beacons. Junior Sue Killilea (Abington, Mass.) and freshmen Lauren Perra (Taunton, Mass.) and Perry each knotched two hits of their own.
In the circle, senior pitcher Kara Willis (Burrilville, R.I.) struggled giving up seven runs, six earned, on 12 hits and five walks.
Salem State jumped out to a 4-0 lead behind runs in each of the first three innings. Leadoff hitter Michelle Grifoni sparked the Vikings with a walk and a run in the first inning and an RBI double in the second.
UMass Boston cut into the deficit in the fourth with two runs thanks to three hits, one walk and an error but the Beacons left the bases loaded. It would prove costly as the Vikins would tack on three more runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-2 lead.
Hemstock and the Beacons immediately answered with two more in the fifth. With two runners on and two outs, Hemstock drove in both runners with a single to bring the score to 7-4.
The Beacons would create one final rally in the seventh inning but they fell just short. Senior Jaci Goodwin (Melrose, Mass.) knocked in Perra with two out in the inning to cut the deficit to 7-5. Killilea proceeded to walk to put the winning run on first, but Nicole Wilson closed the game out for the Vikings.
UMass Boston will be back in Tuesday afternoon when they travel to Bridgewater State University for a pair of games at 3 and 5 p.m.