MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The Wesleyan University softball team showcased versatility on defense and in the batter's box during its home opener on Wednesday, as the Cardinals defeated Coast Guard by scores of 6-1 and 4-3 at the Wesleyan Softball Field in Middletown, Conn.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS (Wesleyan 6, Coast Guard 1):
- Senior captain Rielly Wieners opened the scoring for the Cardinals (8-5) in Game 1 during the first inning, driving a two-out double to right, which allowed junior Olivia Gorman to score all the way from first. Gorman, who hails from Lower Gwynedd, Pa., opened the bottom of the first by beating out a ground ball to shortstop with a single.
- Wesleyan added on three more runs in the third, doing most of its damage with two outs again. Freshmen Danielle Rinaldi and Marina Williams recorded back-to-back, one-out singles, and then with two down, freshman Brenna Monroe allowed both to cross home with a two-run double to left, giving the hosts a 3-0 cushion. Monroe touched home plate with the Cardinals' fourth run on an RBI single to left by freshman Alyssa DaSilva.
- The run support was more than enough for senior captain Julie McDonald (2-2) in the circle, as she earned the complete-game win, allowing only one run on five hits in seven innings. The Commack, N.Y. native finished with four strikeouts, and her pitch control was great as she did not walk any batters. She retired the side in order during the first, third, fifth and seventh frames.
- The Bears (9-3, 2-0 in NEWMAC) were able to sneak a run on the scoreboard in the fourth on a one-out RBI single to center by senior Casey Cruzpino, allowing sophomore Courtney McKenna to score from third, which cut the deficit to 4-1.
- The Cardinals added some more insurance in the sixth with a pair of unearned runs, as Rinaldi scored on an RBI double to right by Williams with two down, and then Williams crossed home on a throwing error by the catcher.
- The Cardinals saw five players record multi-hit games, headlined by Gorman (3-for-4, run), Williams (2-for-4, double, two runs, RBI), Wieners (2-for-3, double, RBI), Monroe (2-for-4, double, two RBIs, run) and DaSilva (2-for-3, RBI).
- Cruzpino went 2-for-3 for Coast Guard with an RBI, while sophomore pitcher Julia Ferris (5-2) was tagged with the loss on the mound, giving up four runs on nine hits in four innings.
- Wesleyan held a 13-5 advantage in hits, while Coast Guard was ticketed with a pair of errors.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS (Wesleyan 4, Coast Guard 3):
- Wieners played the role of heroine for Wesleyan during Game 2, as she stepped up to the plate with the score knotted at 3-3 and runners on first and second with two down in the bottom of the sixth. The West Springfield, Mass. native then drilled the game-winning, RBI single to right, allowing Rinaldi to score the game-winning run.
- For the second straight game, Wieners put the Cardinals on the board in the first, knocking a two-out single to right, which scored Gorman from second.
- Rinaldi crossed home with Wesleyan's second run in the third, as she scored from third with one down on a bunt single by Wieners.
- Coast Guard took its only lead of the day with a three-run push in the fifth. Sophomore Claire Hurley recorded a one-out single to third, and then crossed home one at-bat later on a double to left by junior Emily Hogan, trimming the deficit to 2-1. Hogan advanced to third on a single by sophomore Carly Hattman, and then freshman Charlee Kraiss stepped to the plate and reached on an error and posted an RBI, as Hogan knotted the game at 2-2. Next up was senior Emma Hvozdovich, and the Bears took a one-run lead on her RBI single to left, scoring Hattman.
- In the fifth, DaSilva dug into the box with runners on the corners and two down, as the Franklin, Mass. native showed her clutch gene, connecting on an RBI single to left, and Williams crossed home with the game-tying tally. DaSilva has come up in some big moments during her rookie season, as she also recorded the game-winning two-run single in the eighth during a 5-3 win over Lawrence on March 21 in Clermont, Fla.
- Freshman Maria Noto (2-1) earned the win on the hill for Wesleyan, pitching the final two innings, as she did not allow any hits and struck out two batters. With the game hanging in the balance during the seventh, she calmly retired the side in order.
- The Cardinals received outstanding performances from Wieners (3-for-4, three RBIs), Williams (3-for-4, double, run) and Gorman (2-for-3, run). Rinaldi threw the first five innings for Wesleyan, blanking the Bears through four, and then gave up three in the fifth. The Ewing, N.J. native compiled six strikeouts, and allowed seven hits and one walk.
- Freshman Sydney Arendt (4-1) was charged with the loss for the Bears, as she was on the hill when Wieners' tallied the game-clinching hit. McKenna went 2-for-3 with two singles at the plate for Coast Guard.
- The Cardinals will take on No. 15 Amherst on Friday (5 p.m.) in their NESCAC West Division opener in Amherst, Mass.