BEVERLY, Mass. — For the first time in 19 days, the Endicott softball team finally took the field for its home opener to begin Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) play with a doubleheader against visiting Western New England University Wednesday afternoon at the Softball Complex and was swept, 7-4 and 3-0 by the guests.
GAME ONE: WESTERN NEW ENGLAND 7, ENDICOTT 4
The Gulls jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first, as sophomore first baseman Jamie Hopgood's (Warwick, R.I.) RBI double to center brought home leadoff batter Julia McNeill (Smithtown, N.Y.) with the hosts' first run.
Sophomore left fielder Hayley Arudini (Southington, Conn.) then reached base on high pop-up that was dropped to allow Hopgood and sophomore center fielder Olivia Odermatt (Cheshire, Conn.) to score on the error.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, the Golden Bears worked a little two-down magic to plate a five-spot as Gulls' sophomore starter Laura Somerville (Suffield, Conn.) got bounced from the game and would take the eventual loss (2-2) as she allowed five earned runs on three hits, struck out three, and issued a season-high six walks in 3 2/3 innings pitched.
Endicott fought back for one run in the fifth as senior catcher Lindsee Allienello (East Providence, R.I.) executed a perfect squeeze bunt to bring in junior shortstop Kayla Sheldon (Burlington, Mass.) to cut the deficit to 5-4.
Western New England added a pair of insurance runs coming in the sixth and seventh innings before junior Emily Cramer (Stoughton, Mass.) came on in relief to earn her first save of the season by denying the Gulls' an opportunity to rally for a comeback as the would-be tying run stepped into the box with two outs and flied out to center to end the threat.
GAME TWO: WESTERN NEW ENGLAND 3, ENDICOTT 0
The Golden Bears pushed across one run in the first inning on senior shortstop Gabby Lavinio's (Dalton, Mass.) sacrifice fly to right to score senior catcher Corianna DeLisi (Tuxedo, N.Y.).
WNEU tacked two more runs in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively, en route to the shutout.
Endicott has its share of chances, but freshman pitcher Paige Uliase's (Meriden, Conn.) complete-game effort (seven hits) kept the Gulls off the board as she squashed a pair of runners on second and third and less than two outs threats in the fifth and seventh innings to move to 5-1 on the season.
Freshman pitcher Maggie Oram (Lexington, Mass.) was tagged with the loss before being replaced with one out in the seventh inning by classmate Michaela Hamill (Lynn, Mass.) after taking a liner to the wrist to make her exit.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Hopgood had two of the Gulls' six hits in Game 1, while driving in one and scoring one run and added another single in Game 2 to finish the day a team-best 3-of-7 at the dish.
- Sheldon tallied her first hit of the season in Game 1, while freshman outfielder Madison Mucci (Danvers, Mass.) collected her first career hit with a sharp single to center in the fifth inning of Game 2.
- Hopgood is leading the team with a .480 batting average this season (12-of-25).
- The Gulls have now lost seven games in a row and was shut out for the fourth time this season.
FOR THE FOES
- Freshman hurler Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) improved to 3-0 on the year as she picked up the win in Game 1 by giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and three punchouts in five innings of work.
- Cramer earned the six-out save and allowed minimal baserunners (one hit, one walk, one reach on error) of the nine batters she faced.
- DeLisi led the way in Game 1 with a 3-for-4 showing at the plate (one double) to go with one RBI and two runs scored.
- Senior outfielder Katie Wood (Westport, Mass.) collected two of the team's six hits (one double) in Game 2.
- Endicott and Western New England met for the 30th and 31st time in program history, with Endicott still leading the all-time series, 20-11.
- The Gulls and Golden Bears split last season's doubleheader with WNEU winning the first game, 3-2, and Endicott winning the nightcap, 6-1, on April 10, 2016 in Springfield, Mass. during the regular season.
Endicott (4-8, 0-2 CCC) welcomes the University of New England to its campus for a CCC twin bill now rescheduled for Friday, April 7th at 3:00/5:00 p.m.
Western New England (12-2, 4-0 CCC) hosts the University of New England on Saturday, April 8th at 12:00/2:00 p.m.
(Photo Credit — Matt Connelly)