BEVERLY, Mass. – Junior pitcher Nell O'Connor (Harwich, Mass.) struck out four batters while pitching a seven-inning perfect game on Sunday afternoon, one of two shutouts in a sweep of Curry College in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) softball action at Endicott Softball Complex.
O'Connor's perfect game finished with a 2-0 score for the home team, who improved to 10-0 in the CCC after a 6-0 victory in the night-cap.
The Gulls are now 11-13 overall, while Curry slips to 17-13 and sees their conference record even at 7-7.
Game 1: Endicott 2, Curry 0
O'Connor threw 52 of her 72 pitches for strikes and set down the Colonels in order in each inning to improve to 6-1 on the season and lower her ERA to 1.68.
Freshman Sam DiBella (Danvers, Mass.) had three hits in the game, including launching her fourth home run of the year, a shot to left center in the bottom of the sixth inning to make the lead 2-0.
Endicott collected nine hits in the game, though had difficulty early on with Curry pitcher Taylor Ahearn (Salem, Mass.), who dropped to 6-6 on the year despite pitching well. Ahearn allowed just the two runs and did not issue a walk, while picking up one strikeout.
All four of O'Connor's strikeouts came at the top of the Curry batting order, including setting down center fielder Amy Nolan (Norfolk, Mass.) on strikes twice.
Game 2: Endicott 6, Curry 0
Bilafer had four runs batted in and three runs scored, including a three-run home run in the second inning, her first round-tripper of the year.
That was all of the offense that freshman starter Courtney Blake (East Islip, N.Y.) would need. The right-hander went all seven innings of shutout softball, striking out five batters without issuing a walk and scattering just four hits.
Senior captain Jocelyn Russo (Middletown, Conn.) was 2-for-3 in the game with an RBI and was part of a two-run sixth inning in which Jessica Linden (Stratford, Conn.) reached on a fielder's choice, stole second and then scored on a double to right field by Bilafer. Russo plated Bilafer with a single up the middle to cap the Endicott scoring after freshman center fielder Jamie Corda (Higganum, Conn.) had also driven in a run in the fifth with a fielder's choice that scored Bilafer.
Curry designated player Kaitlyn Maderios (East Bridgewater, Mass.) had the only extra-base hit, with a double to lead off the top of the seventh. Taryn Vigeant (Terryville, Conn.) followed by reaching on an error by Blake to start a mini-rally for the Colonels, but Blake struck out pinch hitter Meryl Richardson (West Newfield, Maine) looking and then induced a double play from catcher Heather Carrier (Scarborough, Maine) to end the threat and the game.
Curry starter Jen Lundstrom (Reoboth, Mass.) fell to 6-6 on the year, charged with four runs on five hits over five innings of work.
The Gulls will take a break from conference play for a home double-header on Tuesday afternoon against Babson. The Gulls and Beavers will get underway at 3:00 pm at Endicott Softball Complex.
Curry also pauses for a non-conference game on Wednesday night when they travel to UMass Boston.