Worcester, Mass. - April 2, 2010 - Both Clark and Springfield got stellar starting pitching performances as the two New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rivals each took a game in their highly anticipated doubleheader Friday afternoon on O’Brien Field.
Clark won game one 2-1, while the Pride collected the win in game two, 4-2, as the team’s records go to 16-4, 6-2 for the Cougars and 8-9 and 4-2 for Springfield.
Clark took game one behind Sarah Carter (Worcester, Mass.), who tossed her fourth complete game of the season. She scattered eight singles en route to her ninth victory of the season, retiring five of the final six batters she faced.
The Cougars got all the offense they would need in the bottom of the opening frame as they strung three hits together off of Pride starter Stef Grande. Melissa Traft (Milton, Mass.) singled home Mel Melkonian (Worcester, Mass.), and following a Darcey Kurashige-Elliott (Berkeley, Calif.) single, Stephanie Kettenacker (Hastings-on-the-Hudson, N.Y.) doubled to deep center scoring Traft from third.
Springfield cut the Clark in half when Kelly Blake (Watertown, Conn.) singled and then came around to score on a Bryn Worrilow (North Babylon, N.Y.) single to left.
The Pride had another chance to scratch across a run in the fourth, but Carter was able to get Chelsea Bender (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) to ground into the inning-ending double play.
Grande proved to be just as effective as Carter for Springfield, going six innings, allowing only six hits and one earned run.
Springfield drew first blood in game two, scoring three runs in the top of the second highlighted by a two-run double by Tess Gagliano (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.).
Clark answered back in the third when Kurashige-Elliott stroked a two-run single to center, scoring Melkonian and Lauren Blake (Oakland, Maine) - both who reached with two-out singles - snapping a stretch of eight consecutive batters retired by Springfield’s game two starter Megan Fitzgerald (Troy, N.Y.).
The Pride tacked on an insurance run in the sixth when Gagliano drove home Mackenzie O’Dea (Weymouth, Mass.), who opened the frame with an infield single.
Springfield got an excellent performance in the circle from Fitzgerald, who went the distance, yielding six hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Meghan Lennon (Charlton, Mass.) turned in a solid relief performance for the Cougars, going five innings, allowing eight hits and just one earned run.
Michelle Wlosek (Nutley, N.J.) went 4-for-6 on the day for Springfield, including a 3-for-4 performance in the nightcap, while the NEWMAC’s leading hitter Worrilow, went 4-for-7 in the twinbill.
Kurashige-Elliott had three hits in six at-bats for Clark, while Lennon, Melkonian and Blake all had two hits on the day.
The Cougars return to action on Saturday when they travel to Coast Guard in a matchup of two teams ranked in the top five of the New England Intercollegiate Softball Coaches Association top ten. Springfield, meanwhile, returns to the diamond Saturday as well with a home contest against MIT.