Beverly, Mass. - May 7, 2009 - The seventh-seeded Springfield College softball team plated three runs in the second inning and never looked back in an exciting 5-2 win over second-seeded Rhode Island College in its opening game of the 2009 NCAA Division III Softball Tournament on Thursday afternoon on the campus of Endicott College.
With the victory, Springfield improves to 21-22 on the year, while the Anchorwomen drop just their sixth game of the season to fall to 40-6.
The Pride now advance to play New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival, Coast Guard, at 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon. Coast Guard was the top seed in the NEWMAC Tournament, but Springfield eliminated the Bears from the competition after beating them twice.
“It’s great for this group to finally win an NCAA game, especially the seniors, and even more especially this battery of Michelle (Wlosek) and Samantha (Rhodes),”said head coach Kathy Mangano. "We did not have the greatest of infield warm ups before the game, but once the game got underway, we put the ball in play and made them make the plays. We had some timely hits and got some breaks, and defensively, we shut them down. I was really pleased with how we played with a lot of confidence."
The Pride received a complete game from Rhodes who struck out six Anchorwomen en route to her 13th win of the season.
Springfield jumped out to an early lead as the Pride scored three runs in the top of the second for a quick 1-0 lead. Following a lead-off walk and a hit-batsman, Springfield's Amanda Novak (Cos Cob, Conn.) singled to right field to load the bases. Tess Gagliano (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.) singled in the first run of the game, chasing RIC's Jenna Deveines (Lowville, N.Y.) after just one inning of work. The Pride pushed their second run across on a fielder's choice and scored their final run of the inning on an RBI groundout by Angela Atkins (East Haddam, Conn.).
The Anchorwomen responded in their half of the second when Chelsi Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) crushed a 1-2 offering over the fence in right field to cut into the deficit, 3-1.
Springfield would get that run back in the third when Gagliano struck again with an RBI single up the middle to push the cushion back to three runs at 4-1.
RIC would threaten again in the bottom of the fifth when Kelli McCartin (Cranston, R.I.) drove in a run with a single to right centerfield. McCartin would steal second and move into scoring position, trailing just 4-2, but Springfield's Rhodes struck out Amanda Perry (New Bedford, Mass.) to end the inning. That would be as close as the Anchorwomen would get as the Pride tacked on one more run in the top of the seventh and Rhodes closed the door on the upset, taking the game 5-2.
Rhodes pitched seven innings while giving up just two runs on five hits with six strikeouts. Gagliano ended the day going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI while Atkins had the other RBI for Springfield while going 1-for-4 with a run.
Deveines took the loss for RIC despite just going one inning and giving up two hits and three runs (two earned). Amanda Berard (Swansea, Mass.) pitched the final six innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out seven. Panarelli finished with a 2-for-3 day with an RBI and run scored. McCartin finished 1-for-3 with an RBI.