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Softball Sweeps by Johnson State College, 7-6 and 5-4

Softball Sweeps by Johnson State College, 7-6 and 5-4

CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College junior catcher Sarah Buckley (Wilbraham, Mass.) went a combined 4 for 8 at the plate with two runs scored and three RBI as the Blazers swept Johnson State College, 7-6 and 5-4 in Sunday afternoon's non-conference softball double-header at Cheryl R. Condon Field.

With the wins, Elms improves to 3-7 on the season while Johnson State falls to 1-7 overall.

In game one, Elms plated five runs in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore third baseman Hayley Zisk (Baldwinville, Mass.) delivered an RBI single up the middle to score junior second baseman Ali Bonavita (Agawam, Mass.). With freshman designated player Elizabeth Patient (Leicester, Mass.) on third, Zisk stole second before Buckley ripped a two-run double to left center field giving the Blazers a 3-0 lead. Senior pitcher Courtney Hampton (Westfield, Mass.) then drove in Buckley with an infield single and a sacrifice fly by sophomore first baseman Ally Witaszek (Feeding Hills, Mass.) drove in sophomore left fielder Kellie McLaughlin (Pittsfield, Mass.) with Elms' fifth run of the inning to set the score at 5-0.

Tanya Randall (Fryeburg, Maine) connected for an RBI single down the left field line in the top of the second to put Johnson State on the board and the Badgers struck for five runs in the top of the third to take a 6-5 lead.

Meagan Russ (Burlington, Vt.) scored on an infield error and Maria Gleason (Enosburg Falls, Vt.) scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 5-3 before Randall cranked a three-run home run to left field giving the Badgers a one-run cushion.

In the bottom of the third stanza, McLaughlin doubled to right center and then scored on a base hit to center by Witaszek to knot the game at 6-6.

After the sides played three and a half scoreless innings, Elms earned the walk-off win when Buckley doubled down the left field line and then scored on a fielding error to seal the 7-6 win.

Buckley was 3 for 4 with two RBI, while senior right fielder Jen Killion (Cambridge, Mass.) added a 3 for 4 showing at the dish in the winning effort for the Blazers.

Hampton was stellar in the circle, tossing a complete game with six strikeouts to improve to 2-3 on the season.

Russ suffered the loss to fall to 1-4 overall, while Randall contributed a 2 for 3 effort at the plate with four runs batted in.

In game two, Zisk put Elms ahead early with a two-out double to right field scoring sophomore second baseman Abby Capone (Fitchburg, Mass.).

The Badgers answered in the top of the third when Erica Pustari (North Haven, Conn.) scored on a single to right field by Emily Himberg (Williston, Vt.) to even the game at 1-1.

An RBI bunt single by junior center fielder Leah Spring (South Hadley, Mass.) in the bottom of the fourth gave the Blazers a 2-1 lead before Johnson State matched the run with a tally of its own in the top of the fifth thanks to a Pustari RBI base hit evening the game at 2-2.

After Elms took the lead in the bottom of the fifth on an infield miscue by the Badgers, Johnson State scored twice when Amber McCullock (Morrisville, Vt.) drove in a run on a fielder's choice, and Russ later scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Pustari to give Johnson State a 4-3 edge.

Russ, who came in to pitch for starter Kristy McDonnell (Quechee, N.Y.), allowed a lead-off double to left field by Spring who advanced to third on a ground out by Killion and then scored on a triple to right field by McLaughlin to tie the game at 4-4. A double to right center off the bat of Buckley sent McLaughlin across the dish with what stood as the game-winning run as Elms' starting pitcher, Patient, used a game-ending double play to seal the win.

Patient went the distance to earn her first collegiate win (1-2), while Russ suffered the loss to fall to 1-5 on the season. McDonnell fanned three batters in a five-inning no decision.

Spring tagged three hits while McLaughlin was 2 for 4 in the win for Elms, while Himberg and Amanda McClean (Woodhave, N.Y.) added two hits apiece in the loss for the Badgers.

The Blazers return to non-conference action on Thursday, March 22 at Westfield State University at 4:00 p.m.