Eastern Connecticut State Sweeps Softball In Beacons' Little East Opener

Eastern Connecticut State Sweeps Softball In Beacons' Little East Opener

WILLIMANTIC, Conn.—In their first games since Florida, UMass Boston softball (1-9, 0-2 Little East) dropped a pair of walk-off mercy-rule victories to defending Little East Conference Champion Eastern Connecticut State University (13-3, 4-0 Little East) Saturday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Stadium.

The Beacons jumped out to two-run leads in both contests, but couldn't stick with the hosts who improved to 7-0 since returning from Florida. On the other side, UMass Boston was playing its first games in 16 days.

Eastern won the opener 13-2 in five innings after a walk-off grand slam, before taking game two 12-4 on a walk-off sacrifice fly.

Senior Samantha Hemstock (Northford, Conn.) and sophomore Kaitlyn Morse (Arlington, Mass.) each finished with a pair of RBI on the day to lead the Beacons offensively. 

Game One: Eastern Connecticut State 13, UMass Boston 2 (5 Innings) 

Hemstock belted her second collegiate home run to give UMass Boston a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, only to have the Warriors respond with 13-straight runs to earn the 13-2 five-inning win. 

The senior catcher went a perfect 2-for-2 with a run and two RBI, as the Beacons were held to just six hits by Warriors' ace Erin Miller. 

Sophomore Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.) added a single and a run scored, while senior Kirsten Morrison (North Reading, Mass.) ended the contest 1-for-2 with a pair of putouts in her softball debut. The senior is in her first season with the team, after playing four seasons each for the Umass Boston women's basketball and volleyball teams. 

Sophomores Lauren Mitsiaris (Taunton, Mass.) and Kelsey Cruse (Worcester, Mass.) tallied the final two hits for the Beacons. 

In the circle, Kaera Wyse (Danvers, Mass.) went the distance and took the loss after allowing 12 hits and eight walks.

Miller picked up her fifth win of the year in six decisions for the hosts, by allowing two earned and striking out three over five innings. 

With two outs and no one on in the top of the first, Raczkowski started the Beacons' rally with a single up the middle. Hemstock followed with her first homer in two years to give the Beacons a brief 2-0 lead. 

The Warriors answered with a single run in the bottom of the first and second innings to tie the game 2-2 heading into the third. 

Eastern Connecticut State added a third run in the third, off of a wild pitch with two down, before breaking the game wide open in the fourth and fifth innings. 

The hosts scored five runs on five hits, two walks and a hit by pitch in the fourth, before scoring five more in the fifth. With the bases loaded and one run already in, Gina Georgetti sent a blast over the fence to give the Warriors a 13-2 lead and earn the mercy-rule victory. 

Game Two: Eastern Connecticut State 12, UMass Boston 4 

UMass Boston rushed out to a 3-1 lead after the top of the second, only to have the Warriors score 11 of the next 12 runs to earn a 12-4 victory. 

Morse paced the Beacons in game two by finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and a pair of RBI. Raczkowski added a hit and an RBI, while Mitsiaris and freshman Kayla Harris (Cumberland, Maine) tacked on a hit and a run scored. Harris' bunt single marked the first hit of her collegiate career.

Morrison added the Beacons' sixth and final hit, as the Beacons' struggled against Eastern Connecticut State's Samantha Valentine and Summer Cipriani.

Valentine picked up the win by going 4.1 innings, allowing six hits, four runs and one earned run. Cipriani came on and got the final two outs of the top of the fifth, before her team closed out the victory in the bottom of the inning.

Senior right-hander Michelle Zullo (Everett, Mass.) took the loss, after allowing 16 hits and striking out two in 4.1 innings.

After putting the first two runners on in the bottom of the first, the Warriors captured a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly for the first out of the inning. The hosts would load up the bases with one out, but Zullo induced a fly out and a strike out to keep the score 1-0.

UMass Boston would score three of their four runs in the next inning on four hits and an error. Morrison and Mitsiaris led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a fielder's choice, Harris put down a perfect bunt, to load the bases. 

With one out and the bases loaded, Cruse reached on a dropped throw home to the catcher to plate Morrison and tie the game 1-1. Morse followed with a two-run single just underneath the second baseman's glove that scored Mitsiaris and Dutton to make it 3-1 in favor of UMass Boston. 

Eastern would respond back with a single run in the bottom of the second, before both teams went scoreless in the third. 

After scoring five runs in the fourth inning of game one, the Warriors poured in seven in the fourth frame of game two to grab a decisive 9-3 lead. 

Samantha Rentz and Kristyn Ryan each belted three-run homers in the inning for Eastern Connecticut State. 

The Beacons got a run back in the top of the fifth, behind a one-out RBI single by Raczkowski. After a lead-off bunt single by Morse, Raczkowski drove in Morse from second with a single to cut the deficit to 9-4. 

Eastern Connecticut State was just too strong though, as the Warriors took an 11-4 lead with a two-run double and finished the game with a sacrifice fly to make it 12-4. 

UMass Boston will return to action Monday at 4 p.m., as they travel to take on Salve Regina University for the first of four doubleheaders to be played next week.