Middle of the Order Powers Softball To Sweep of Rhode Island College

Middle of the Order Powers Softball To Sweep of Rhode Island College

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—UMass Boston softball's three-six hitters in the lineup combined for all 15 RBI and the Beacons pitching staff limited Rhode Island College to just three run scoring innings in a Little East Conference sweep of the Anchorwomen. 

THE BASICS

UMass Boston 4, Rhode Island College 3

UMass Boston 11, Rhode Island College 5

(UMass Boston 21-8, Little East 6-4)

(Rhode Island College 6-16, Little East 1-7)

HOW IT HAPPENED

Roxanne Vento (Arlington, Mass.), Gia Raczkowski (Stoneham, Mass.), Ari Bilotta (Leominster, Mass.) and Taylor Pawlina (Woonsocket, R.I.) combined for 13 hits, five runs scored and 15 RBI, in the middle of the Beacons' lineup. 

That would be more than enough for the Beacons' three starting pitchers.

In game one, Jess Greenspan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) limited the hosts to just three hits and snuffed out a late-game rally by striking out Nicole Venturini with the bases loaded and two down.

The Beacons jumped out to a big lead in game two and then tacked on a ton of insurance runs, as Annie Thomas (Lunenburg, Mass.) and Megan Hoben (Bedford, Mass.) combined for the conference win.

GAME ONE

UMass Boston broke a scoreless deadlock with three runs in the fifth, and Greenspan worked around three late errors to earn her 15th win of the season.

Greenspan's no-hit bid was broken with two down in the bottom of the fifth, as she absolutely dominated the hosts through five innings. In the final two frames, the Anchormen worked two walks and scratched out two base hits to score three unearned runs. That wouldn't be enough though, as Greenspan struck out an Anchorwomen to end the sixth and seventh innings, stranding a combined five baserunners.

For the game, Greenspan allowed three hits and four walks, while striking out eight, to improve to 15-6. 

Bilotta had a pair of RBI and a base hit, while Vento tacked on two hits, one run scored and one RBI. Raczkowski tacked on the final RBI and fellow senior Kaitlyn "KMO" Morse (Arlington, Mass.) scorded a game-high two runs.

Rhode Island College starter Amanda Troiano was charged with the loss after allowing three earned runs and seven hits in five innings.

After four scoreless innings, UMass Boston grabbed the lead with a three-run fifth inning. Gigi Braga (Medford, Mass.) led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a Morse single. Vento gave the Beacons a 1-0 lead with a double that scored Braga, and Morse came running home on a Raczkowski RBI single. The Beacons made it 3-0 when Bilotta hit a deep sacrifice fly to right field to score Vento.

The Anchorwomen got two runs back in the bottom of the sixth. Each of the first two hitters reached on errors, and Greenspan walked the third batter to load the bases. After getting Marissa Matias to popup, Venturini worked a bases-loaded walk to score the first run. Lauren Duvall followed with an RBI groundout, but Greenspan got Kelsey Wood to strikeout to keep it 3-2.

Bilotta provided a huge insurance run in the seventh. Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) recorded her third hit of the game to lead off the inning, but was retired on a Morse fielder's choice. Morse moved to second on a Vento groundout and took third on a wild pitch. With runners on the corners and two down, Bilotta lined a single in front of the right fielder to make it 4-2. 

That run would be huge because of another error by the Beacons' defense. The leadoff runner reached on an error and after a single, both runners were in scoring position with one down. Emma Simmons cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI single, but the Anchorwomen kept the trail runner at third base. Greenspan got the next hitter to fly out to shallow right and then after loading the bases with a walk, got Venturini to strike out to end the game.

GAME TWO

UMass Boston scored in five of the seven innings and Raczkowski and Pawlina each posted four RBI, to help the Beacons complete the sweep. 

Raczkowski had one of her best games of the season, as the senior went 4-for-5 with a double, a run scored and four RBI. Pawlina, the Beacons' lone Rhode Island native, added a double and four RBI of her own.

Vento wasn't too far behind, as the conference's leading hitter finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Prusmack added two more hits and two runs scored, while Morse tacked on two runs in game two. 

In the circle, Thomas made her first start since March 16. The sophomore cruised through the first three innings, before allowing five runs in the fourth frame. Hoben came on in relief and allowed just one hit and one walk over the final 3.1 innings, to earn her second-straight win.

The Anchorwomen were forced to used three different pitchers in game two. Starter Briana Gough took the loss after allowing four runs, two earned, in the first three frames.

UMass Boston needed just six batters to take a 2-0 lead in game two. The Beacons loaded the bases with a walk, an error and a single and Pawlina made it 2-0 when she belted a two-out, two-run double that scored Morse and Vento. 

In the third, Raczkowski crushed an RBI double to score Vento from second and Pawlina hit a sacrifice fly to plate Raczkowski to make it 4-0.

The Beacons extended the lead out to 6-0 with two more runs in the fourth. The first three hitters in the inning singled and after a fielder's choice, Vento and Raczkowski hit back-to-back RBI singles to score Braga and Prusmack.

Rhode Island College got their only runs of game two in the bottom half of the inning. The Anchorwomen used six singles and a hit by pitch-to score five runs and cut the deficit to 6-5.

After a scoreless fifth, UMass Boston tacked on a huge insurance run in the sixth. Pinch runner Kayla Harris (Cumberland, Maine) came in to score on a Pawlina sacrifice fly with one out to make it 7-5. 

The Beacons put the game away in the seventh. UMass Boston scored four runs on five hits and a walk. With the bases loaded and one out, Vento plated pinch runner Angelina Avitabile (Holbrook, Mass.) with an RBI single. Raczkowski promptly added a two-run single that easily scored Prusmack and Morse to make it 10-5. Bilotta finished off the scoring, when she greeted reliever Haley Levesque with an RBI infield single.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • UMass Boston extended their winning streak to five in a row over the Anchorwomen with their second-straight regular-season sweep. The Beacons are now 8-52-1 all-time against Rhode Island College.
  • With her two doubles on the day, Vento tied Andrea Ciarletta's ('07) record for doubles in a single-season with 14.
  • The Beacons' 21 wins on the season are tied for the third-most in a single-season. The 2011 (24 wins) and 2016 (22 wins) are the only Beacons' teams with more victories.
  • UMass Boston's six conference wins are one shy of the team's single-season high. The 2011 team finished 7-7 that year.
  • With five runs scored on the day, Morse stretched her conference lead for runs scored to seven (31-24) over Braga and UMass Dartmouth's Emily Colton.
  • The Beacons pitching staff lowered their team ERA to 2.20. Hoben has allowed just one earned run in 11 innings of work (0.63 ERA).
  • With their sweep on Saturday, UMass Boston moved into a tie for second in the LEC with Eastern Connecticut State University at 6-4. The Warriors swept Keene State College at Keene, to move the Owls into fifth place at 4-4.
  • Prusmack is hitting .647 (22-for-34) through 10 conference games. The next closest hitter in Keene State's Kayla Votto who is hitting .552.

WHO'S NEXT 

UMass Boston will travel to the University of Southern Maine on Tuesday afternoon for a Little East Conference doubleheader beginning at 3:30 p.m.