MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Senior captain Julie McDonald of the Wesleyan University softball team tallied her 100th career hit during the second game of a doubleheader against No. 12-ranked Amherst on Saturday, but the Mammoths emerged victorious in both games by scores of 3-2 and 10-1 (six innings), respectively, at the Wesleyan Softball Field.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS (Amherst 3, Wesleyan 2):
- The Cardinals (8-7, 0-2 NESCAC West Division) proved that they could compete with the best the NESCAC has to offer in the first game. Freshman Danielle Rinaldi tallied a one-out double to left-center in the fourth, and then scored on an error by the right fielder. McDonald stepped up to the plate, and drilled an RBI single down the left-field line, scoring freshman Brenna Monroe from second, giving the hosts a 2-0 lead.
- The Mammoths (14-2, 2-0 NESCAC West Division) responded with three unearned runs in the sixth, as junior Annie Murphy crossed home with one down on an RBI double to left-center by freshman Audrey Hansen. Amherst knotted the game at 2-2 on a two-out RBI single to right-center by freshman Alyson Plaman, with Hansen scoring from third base. Junior Kyra Naftel then scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in the frame.
- McDonald (2-3) pitched tremendously against a highly-talented Mammoths' lineup, giving up no earned runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings. The Commack, N.Y. native sent seven hitters back to the dugout on strikeouts, and was on point all day – not walking a single batter.
- Junior pitcher Lorena Ukanwa (8-0) stayed perfect on the season for Amherst, earning the complete-game win by allowing no earned runs and striking out nine hitters. She did not allow any walks, and Wesleyan compiled six hits against her.
- Rinaldi went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a run for Wesleyan, while freshman Marina Williams also chipped in with a pair of singles. Sophomore Kate Kopatic went 2-for-4 at the dish for the Mammoths, as the visitors held a 9-6 lead in hits.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS (Amherst 10, Wesleyan 1 – Six Innings):
- The Mammoths jumped onto the scoreboard with a three-run second, consisting of a two-run double down the left-field line by sophomore Annie McCluskey with no outs, and a one-run single to center by junior Sammy Salustri with two down, giving the squad an early 3-0 advantage.
- In the sixth, Amherst put the game in safe hands with seven runs, featuring a one-run single by junior Julia Turner, an RBI walk by Kopatic, a two-run single by Hansen, and a bases-clearing, three-run double by freshman RonnieMarie Falasco, as Amherst built a 10-0 cushion.
- In the bottom of the sixth, a moment occurred that McDonald will never forget. The Commack, N.Y. native, who has been an outstanding pitcher and hitter for the Cardinals during her career, recorded her 100th career hit, which was a one-out, RBI single to center, as freshman Katy O'Connor crossed home with Wesleyan's lone run.
- Senior pitcher Gina Pagan (6-2) earned the complete-game win for the Mammoths, as she struck out three batters, walked two, and allowed seven hits and one run in six innings.
- Rinaldi (3-3) was charged with the loss for the Cardinals, as the Ewing, N.J. native allowed four earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. She finished with four strikeouts and allowed one walk, while posting a 1-2-3 third inning.
- Leading the way in the Cardinals' lineup was McDonald, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and McCluskey went a perfect 3-for-3 for the Mammoths with two doubles, two RBIs and a run.
- The Cardinals are scheduled to compete in doubleheader action against Eastern Connecticut State on Tuesday, with game times set for 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., respectively, in Mansfield, Conn.