CLERMONT, FL.--After a slow start in their season-opener, UMass Boston softball (1-1) outscored their two New Jersey opponents 17-2 over the final 10 innings of the day, to earn a season-opening split Sunday afternoon at the National Training Complex.
The Beacons fell 7-4 in game one to The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), after going down 7-0 in the opening two innings. UMass Boston picked up win number one with a total team performance, as the Beacons recorded 13 runs on 17 hits in a 13-2 five-inning victory over Fairleig Dickinson-Florham (FDU) Florham.
Sophomore Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) led the offensive explosion with five hits in seven at-bats, to go along with her four RBI and three runs. She also blasted her first collegiate home run against TCNJ, as part of a four-run fourth inning.
Senior Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) added five hits and three RBI in her first game in almost a year and fellow senior Kristina Bove (Medford, Mass.) matched Mitsiaris with four RBI of her own.
Game One: TCNJ 7, UMass Boston 4
The Beacons' season-opener was characterized by a pair of big innings, as TCNJ's (3-2) seven-run second proved too much for UMass Boston's late comeback.
UMass Boston climbed back into the game with four runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth, but the Beacons stranded five runners over the final three innings to stymie their comeback bid.
Mitsiaris' two-run homer highlighted the Beacons' fourth, as she led the team with a 2-for-3 showing and a run and two RBI. Sophomore Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) and Hemstock each added a double, a run and an RBI in the inning, while Bove accounted for the final Beacons run in the contest.
In the circle, Emily Gray (New Bedford, Mass.) overcame a slow start to go the distance in the loss. She finished allowing 12 hits and seven earned runs, to go along with her four strikeouts.
The Lions were led by first baseman Colleen Phelan who recorded two hits and three RBI in the first of two TCNJ victories on the day. TCNJ also added a 5-4 walk-off victory over Little East Conference opponent Western Connecticut State University.
Sam Platt came on in relief for TCNJ to earn the victory, as she allowed just two hits and no runs over the final three and two-thirds innings.
After a scoreless first, TCNJ struck for seven runs on six hits and two hit by pitches in the second. Kristen Fitzsimmons started the rally with a two-run double and four batters later Jamie Purcell made it 3-0 with a bases-loaded single. The Lions tacked on another run with a bases-loaded walk, before Phelan cleared the bases with a double to the wall.
UMass Boston got their first hit of the season in the bottom of the third thanks to Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.), before they finally got things going in the fourth.
With Bove on first and one out, Raczkowski crushed a ball to the wall in right field, that just barely scored Bove. Hemstock followed with a hard liner up the middle that resulted in another run and a double for the senior third baseman. With Hemstock on second and the Beacons trailing 7-2, Mitsiaris belted a ball over the center field wall for her first collegiate home run.
Morse reached second after a walk and a wild pitch, but she was stranded there by Platt.
Gray went pitch for pitch with Platt over the final three frames, but the Beacons left two runners on in the fifth and the sixth and a single runner in the seventh.
GAME TWO: UMass Boston 13, FDU-Florham 2 (5 Innings)
UMass Boston came out swinging in game two, as the Beacons scored runs in four of the five innings, to easily breeze past the Freedom Conference preseason favorites.
Eight out of the nine Beacons hitters scored and eight players had hits, as UMass Boston scored their most runs since April 13, 2013 in a 14-6 win over UMass Dartmouth.
Senior pitcher Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) flew under the radar in the contest, as the senior tied the program-record for career wins. With the victory, she tied Emily Wolf ('11) and former assistant coach Kara Willis ('12) with her 25 career wins. Zullo scattered five hits and five walks over five innings, while allowing just two runs. She also struck out three in the win.
Hemstock tied her career-high with four hits in four at-bats in game two and also added two runs and two RBI. She hadn't recorded four hits in a game since her freshman season, when she registered four hits in an April 3 win over MIT.
Bove and Mitsiaris weren't far behind, as the pair each finished with three hits and combined for six runs and three RBI.
Gray made the most of her first at-bats of the year, as she went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. Morse chipped in with a big two-run single and Haley Dutton (Milton, Mass.) recorded two hits, a run and an RBI.
It took UMass Boston just four batters to take the lead, as Hemstock crushed a double down the left-field line to plate Bove for a 1-0 lead. Mitsiaris followed with a run-scoring single, but the Devils threw out Hemstock at the plate to end the rally.
After a scoreless bottom of the first, the Beacons tacked on a third run when Bove hit into a fielder's choice to score Gray.
The Devils got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the second, when Marlena Bevilacqua doubled to left-center to plate Jaclyn Herrigan.
UMass Boston wasn't about to let FDU-Florham back into the game though, as they came out and scored seven runs on seven hits and one error.
After Hemstock and Mitsiaris started the inning with back-to-back hits, Dutton followed with a sharp hit liner down the right field line to to plate Hemstock. The Beacons made it 5-1 moments later, when Dutton and Mitsiaris executed a delayed double steal, with Mitsiaris easily scurrying home.
Two batters later, Gray belted a double down the left-field line to make it 6-1, as Dutton easily came across to score. Birthday girl Kelsey Cruse (Worcester, Mass.) reached base for the second time following the Gray double, and Bove cleared the bases with a rocket over the right-field fences for her second collegiate collegiate home run. Both of Bove's career home runs have come on Opening Day in Florida.
With two down and Raczkowski on third after a triple, Hemstock laced a single to center field to push the lead to 10-1 through two-and-a-half innings.
FDU-Florham cut the deficit to 10-2 in the bottom half of the inning, before UMass Boston pushed three more runs across in the top of the fifth.
With two down and two on, Mitsiaris sent a hard grounder past the third baseman to plate Lyndsey Capra (Lowell, Mass.). Two batters later, Morse made it 13-2 with a two-run single up the middle.
Zullo gave up two hits to open the bottom of the fifth, before retiring the next three batters to close out the victory.
UMass Boston will return to action Monday when they host Worcester State University and take on SUNY Oswego at 1 pm and 3 pm.