BOSTON, Mass.—UMass Boston softball (4-9) earned their first-ever victory over a nationally-ranked team Tuesday afternoon as the Beacons split their non-conference doubleheader with #25 Wheaton College (21-3) at the UMB Softball Field.
The Beacons struck for seven runs against Wheaton ace Allison Baker and battled back from a 5-4 deficit to earn a 7-5 victory in Game One. Wheaton fought back to grab a split, as Emily Berardi shut the Beacons down and the Lyons bats came alive in a 9-0 five-inning win.
Freshmen Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) and Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) each finished with two key RBI in game one and Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.) limited the Lyons offense just enough to help UMass Boston secure a marquee win for the program.
Game One: UMass Boston 7, Wheaton 5
After watching their 4-1 lead disappear, UMass Boston struck for two runs in the bottom of the fourth and another run in the sixth to hand the Lyons their third loss of the season.
Morse led the Beacons by going 2-for-4 with a run and the first two RBI of her collegiate career, while Raczkowski added two RBI and Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.) picked up a pair of runs.
Sophomore Haley Dutton (Milton, Mass.) registered the first two hit game of her collegiate career to help the Beacons record their first victory in program-history against Wheaton (1-3).
Gray was resilient in the circle all afternoon long, limiting Wheaton to five runs, four earned in seven innings. The sophomore scattered 11 hits and two walks over seven innings by successfully stranding eight Lyons on base.
After Wheaton grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, UMass Boston responded with four runs on five hits and an error in the bottom of the first.
With one out and two runners on, Raczkowski belted a double over the center-fielder's head to score Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) and Erika Vecchiet (Pequannock, N.J.) to give the Beacons a 2-1 lead. Raczkowski came in to score five pitches later, as the Wheaton shortstop overthrew first base on a Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) grounder to put Mitsiaris on second with three runs in. Three batters later with runners on first and second, Toni Scola (Worcester, Mass.) singled to left-center field to plate Kelsey Svenson (Oxford, Conn.) to make it 4-1 Beacons.
Wheaton responded with four runs of their own, two each in the third and fourth, to grab a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior shortstop Jenna Roacha had a pair of RBI hits in the sequence to give the Lyons their lone lead of the game.
The Beacons responded in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of runs to regain the lead.
Capra blasted a triple to left field with one out and came in to score a batter later, when Morse dumped a single just in front of the left fielder, for her first career RBI. That's when Morse began to manufacture the Beacons fifth run; Morse took second on the throw home, advanced to third base when a catcher's pickoff throw was off-line and slid home two pitchers later, when the Lyons' first baseman's throw was high, on a potential play-at-the-plate.
UMass Boston added a pivotal insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, when Morse lined a double into left-center field to score Capra from second base.
With the Beacons leading 7-5 heading into the seventh, Gray retired two of the first three batters, before striking out pinch-hitter Morgan Walsh on a 2-2 pitch to end the game
Game Two: Wheaton College 9, UMass Boston 0 (5 Innings)
Game two was a totally different story, as the Lyons limited the Beacons to three hits and Wheaton scored nine runs on eight hits and five walks.
NEWMAC Softball Player of the Week Caroline Fairbanks led the charge with two runs and three RBI, while Berardi added two runs and one of the team's two home runs in the win.
Berardi and Danielle Camino struck out six and allowed just three hits to help Wheaton earn their sixth shutout victory of the year.
Morse, Bove and Raczkowski accounted for UMass Boston's three hits in the second contest, with Raczkowski accounting for the Beacons' lone extra-base hit, a double in the fourth inning.
Wheaton did the brunt of their damage in the top of the first, as they scored five runs on three hits, four walks and an error. All five of the runs in the inning charged to Beacons pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) were unearned.
After a scoreless second inning, Wheaton added another run in the third, as Ashley Brillon, 4-6, 2 runs, 1 RBI on the day, earned a bases-loaded walk to make it 6-0 Lyons.
The Lyons pushed the lead to 9-0 in the fourth inning, as Zullo allowed a lead-off single, before Fairbanks and Berardi hit back-to-back home runs to push the lead to nine.
UMass Boston had their best chance to score in the bottom of the inning when Raczkowski doubled to left with one out, but Berardi retired the next two batters to keep the shutout going.
The Beacons will return to action Wednesday afternoon when they host Suffolk University at 3:00 p.m. UMass Boston will look to get at least one victory in the doubleheader, as head coach Natalia Ardagna is sitting on 99 career wins at the helm of the Beacons.