Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
LEICESTER, Mass. - The Elms College softball team suffered a pair of road losses to host Becker College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) doubleheader at Russell Field Sunday afternoon. The Blazers dip to 11-12 overall, and 5-3 in the NECC, while Becker improves to 4-0 in conference play, and 10-8 on the season.
Game 1: Becker 10, Elms 5
The Hawks jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, grabbing a 2-0 lead behind RBI sacrifice flies from senior Jessica Wheelahan (Watertown, Conn.) and freshman Megan Klemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I.). Becker pushed their lead to 4-0 in the second as sophomore Rebecca Carkhuff (Amherst, Mass.) launched a two-run home run over the left-centerfield fence.
In the top of the third, the Blazers rallied back loading the bases with one out. Junior Kacey Gifford (Suffield, Conn.) cut the Hawks lead in half, 4-2, with a two-run single to centerfield. Sophomore Elizabeth Olszewski (Canterbury, Conn.) ripped an RBI double, followed by an RBI sacrifice bunt from freshman Madison Messier (Warren, Mass.) to even the score at 4-4.
Becker regained the lead in the bottom of the frame as two runs scored on an RBI single from junior Ashley Ciepiela (Adams, Mass.) to put the Hawks up 6-4. Becker increased their advantage with a four-run fourth inning, fueled by a two-run triple from Wheelahan, to push the Hawks lead to 10-4. The Blazers tacked on their final run in the top of the sixth as freshman Erin O'Donnell (Glenmont, N.Y.) connected for her first collegiate home run to make it a 10-5 game.
Olszewski lead the Blazers with two hits and an RBI, while Gifford drove in two runs in the loss. Freshman Raeanna Tumel (Stafford, Conn.) allowed four runs on three hits with two strikeouts, while junior Tessa Cote (5-8; Granby, Mass.) took the loss in relief, giving up six runs, four earned, on five hits in three innings of work.
Becker senior Jaclyn Orangio (Maynard, Mass.), freshman Jennifer VanAlphen (Hudson, N.Y.), and Carkhuff knocked two hits each, and Wheelahan brought home three runs. Senior Kelsey Norberg (6-1; Uxbridge, Mass.) earned the complete game victory, allowing five runs, four earned, with eight hits and five strikeouts.
Game 2: Becker 8, Elms 0 (5 Innings)
The Hawks struck early in the finale, posting four runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. VanAlphen delivered an RBI single through the right side, followed by an RBI bases loaded walk to sophomore Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.). Freshman Vasia Murphy (Dracut, Mass.) lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to left field, and then Klemanchuck scored on a wild pitch to stake the Hawks to a 4-0 lead.
In the second, Becker added to their advantage with an RBI singles from Klemanchuck and Lee to extend the gap to 6-0. VanAlphen drew a RBI bases loaded walk in the third, followed by a sac fly from Wheelahan to hand the Hawks an 8-0 lead after three innings.
Norberg (7-1) allowed just one hit over the final two innings to secure the 8-0 win in five innings. Klemanchuck went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while VanAlphen and Lee knocked in a pair of runs each. Norberg held the Blazers to only two hits in the game while fanning six batters.
Senior Taylor Skinner (South Windsor, Conn.) and O'Donnell delivered the lone hits for Elms. Cote (5-9) gave up eight runs, six earned, on five hits with two strikeouts. Tumel surrendered one hit with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of relief work.
The Blazers will look to return to win column when they host Wheelock College in a NECC doubleheader at Cheryl R. Condon Field Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Becker travels to Westfield State for a non-conference doubleheader Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.