Worcester, Mass - April 13, 2008 - Freshman pitcher Sarah Pongratz (Winchester, Mass.) worked out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth inning to help Springfield defeat WPI 9-8 in the nightcap of a NEWMAC softball doubleheader sweep on Sunday afternoon. The visiting Pride took the opener 4-2.
The Pride, which trailed 7-6 in game two entering the top of the seventh, forced extra frames when pinch hitter Aimee Cassella (Southington, Conn.) delivered a sacrifice fly to plate Danielle Spiro (South Windsor, Conn.). After both teams went scoreless in the eighth inning, SC took a 9-7 advantage in the top of the ninth on an RBI double by Michelle Wlosek (Nutley, N.J.) and a run-scoring wild pitch. The Engineers would not go quietly, slicing the lead to 9-8 on a run-producing double from Nicole Maglione (Charlton, Mass.) before drawing a pair of walks to load the bases. On the next pitch, Jen Richards (Hampstead, N.H.) sent a laser to third that was snagged by Pride third baseman Lauren D'Arrigo (Lexington, Mass.), who promptly stepped on third to complete the double play. Pongratz then got the final out on a sinking liner to left, which was caught by Amanda Lyons (Eastchester, N.Y.).
Big innings were the norm in game two with the Pride scoring three runs in the first inning, highlighted by Jessica Hillman’s (Seymour, Conn.) second first-inning homer of the day. WPI answered back with four runs in bottom of the fourth via a Bri Dougherty (Woburn, Mass.) two-run single and a two-run home run. Both teams posted three-run sixth innings with Jaimie Moran (Manchester, Conn.) belting a three-run smash for SC, and the Engineers collecting an RBI single from Sara Migdal (Hagaman, N.Y.) and capitalizing on a key two-out error.
Pongratz upped her record to 2-3. Senior Heather Hassett (Oxford, Mass.) took the loss for WPI, despite registering 10 strikeouts, one short of her career-high.
In the opener, Springfield received two-run homers in the first two innings from Hillman and Denise Fumicllo (Brockton, Mass.) to jump out to an early 4-0 lead. Maglione kept WPI close with a home run in the third and a run on a fielder’s choice in the sixth, but in the end the Engineers had no answer for Pride pitcher Samantha Rhodes (Mendon, Mass.). The junior was extremely economical, needing only 63 pitches (51 strikes) to improve to 11-4 on the season. Lindsay Brown (Westfield, N.J.) was saddled with the loss for WPI, dropping to 8-6.
Both teams return to action on Monday with non-conference road contests. WPI (12-15, 3-9 NEWMAC) travels to Fitchburg State for a 4:30 pm match-up, while Springfield (16-12, 7-5 NEWMAC) ventures to Williams for a doubleheader beginning at 3:30 pm.