MANSFIELD, Conn. – Sophomore Sabrina LeMere went 3-for-5 with a triple and a double, to go along with the game-winning RBI in the 10th inning for the Eastern Connecticut State softball team during a 5-4 victory over Wesleyan University in Game 1 on Thursday, and then the Warriors posted a 6-1 triumph during the second game in Mansfield, Conn.
The Cardinals (8-9, 0-2 NESCAC West Division) received a stellar performance from freshman Danielle Rinaldi during the first game, as she went 4-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and a run, and senior pitcher Julie McDonald (2-4) kept the Warriors (6-11, 1-1 Little East Conference) off the board for the first five innings, and did not relinquish a single earned run during 9 1/3 innings of work. During Game 2, freshman Maria Noto was outstanding in relief, not allowing any base runners during four innings of work.
GAME 1 HIGHLIGHTS (Eastern Connecticut State 5, Wesleyan 4 – 10 innings):
- The game progressed into extra innings with the score knotted at 2-2, and the NCAA rules dictate when a softball contest moves beyond the seventh a runner will be placed on second base at the beginning of each additional inning. The person who made the last out in the batting order during the previous inning is the base runner.
- In the top half of the eighth, Rinaldi was placed on second for the Cardinals, and senior captain Rielly Wieners led off with a walk. Freshman Marina Williams advanced the base runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and then after back-to-back strikeouts, sophomore Rachel Curran recorded an RBI single to right, giving the squad a 3-2 advantage.
- In the bottom of the eighth, sophomore Jackie Lewis led off with a sacrifice bunt for Eastern Connecticut, advancing sophomore Haleigh Cardello to third, and then LeMere evened the game with one swing of the bat, as she connected on a one-run double to right-center.
- In the ninth, each team recorded another run, with Rinaldi coming through with a clutch two-out, RBI single to left in the top half of the inning, and freshman Alexis Tyrrell tied the game at 4-4 for the hosts with a sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the inning.
- Freshman starting pitcher Morgan Bolduk (3-4) recorded a 1-2-3 top of the 10th for the Warriors, and then LeMere tallied the game-winning RBI with with one down in the bottom of the inning on an RBI during a fielder's choice, which plated sophomore Jacky Arndt from third.
- The Cardinals, who held a 9-8 advantage in hits, struck first in the sixth, as freshmen Marina Williams and Katy O'Connor occupied first and second, respectively, with two down. Freshman Brenna Monroe (2-for-5), drove an RBI single to right, and during the next at-bat, freshman Alyssa DaSilva, who has 10 hits and five RBIs on the year, lined an RBI single to right-center, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead.
- In the bottom half of the sixth, sophomore Sara Pisanelli (2-for-4, double, run) crushed a leadoff double to right-center, and ended up scoring an unearned run during the next at-bat on an error by the third baseman. The Warriors generated the tying run on an two-out RBI single to right-center by freshman Kamdynn Moroney, with Cardello scoring from second.
- McDonald is maintaining a 1.08 ERA during the 2018 campaign, which is the fifth lowest in the NESCAC. She retired the side in order during the first, and struck out the side swinging in the fourth. The Commack, N.Y. native finished with a game-high eight strikeouts, while giving up eight hits and only walking a pair of batters, as she now has 43 strikeouts on the season, putting her in the seventh slot in the conference ranks.
- Bolduk earned the complete-game win for the hosts, giving up two earned runs on nine hits in 10 innings. She finished with five strikeouts and two walks, facing a total of 43 hitters.
GAME 2 HIGHLIGHTS (Eastern Connecticut State 6, Wesleyan 1):
- The Warriors took complete control early in Game 2 with three-run efforts in the first and second innings, respectively. During the bottom of the first, Lewis tallied an RBI single, and after LeMere reached on an error, Moroney knocked in a pair of runs with a single, extending the lead to 3-0.
- In the bottom of the second with runners on first and second and one out, Pisanelli belted a two-run double, and then with two down, Pisanelli crossed home with an unearned run on a fielding error by the first baseman, pushing the advantage up to 6-0.
- Sophomore Jo Jo Diaz registered the Cardinals' lone run on an RBI ground out by Monroe in the sixth.
- Pisanelli led the way in the lineup for Eastern Connecticut, finishing with a 2-for-3 effort, highlighted by a double, two RBIs and two runs, as the Warriors led the hits category, 6-5. Bolduk also chipped in with a pair of singles and a run for the hosts, and Cardello (1-2) was credited with the win on the mound, giving up no earned runs on five hits in seven innings.
- Williams went 2-for-3 in the Cardinals' lineup, while Rinaldi (3-4) was tagged with the loss, giving up two earned runs on six hits in two innings. Noto retired 12 consecutive batters during her four innings of relief work, as she did not allow any hits or walks, and finished with one strikeout.
- The Cardinals will take on Little Three-rival Williams on Saturday, with game times scheduled for 2 and 4 p.m., respectively, in Williamstown, Mass.