The Suffolk University Softball team reached the 20-win mark for the 2012 season after a thrilling sweep of Pine Manor College in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) action. With the two victories the Rams wrap up the 2012 regular with a 20-20 overall mark, while their 13-13 record in GNAC play stands in seventh place as of the standings on Saturday. The victories clinch a berth for Suffolk into the GNAC playoff tournament that will start on Tuesday.
Game One: Suffolk 8 Pine Manor 7
The Rams overcame a 7-0 deficit in the opener which was highlighted by a walkoff home run by sophomore Erin McAndrews (Marblehead, Mass.) as Suffolk opened with an 8-7 victory.
McAndrews hit a two-run blast with one out in the bottom of the seventh, her second homer of the day as the Rams score eight unanswered runs over the final three innings for the victory
McAndrews finished game one 2-for-4 with four RBI while freshman Alicia Gonnella (Bridgewater, N.J.) knocked in a pair and also picked up the win on the mound in relief pitching the final three innings for Suffolk.
The Gators jumped out early in the top half of the first inning as they plater a pair of runs. Senior Tara Doehler (Lakeville, Mass.) opened the contest reaching on an infield error, and came around to score as she was knocked in with a triple by sophomore Ashley Carusone (Nashua, N.H.). Sophomore Macayla Kirylo (Pawtucket, R.I.) would add an RBI double later on in the inning.
Junior Kaylyn Delgado (Worcester, Mass.) drove in her first run of the contest with a two-out RBI single in the third as the Gators built a 3-0 lead.
Carusone tacked on another run in the Gators' fifth with her second extra base hit of the day, this time a double that scored Doehler who opened the inning with a walk.
Home runs by freshman Samantha Jones (Springfield, Mass.) in the fourth, and a two-run blast by Delgado in the sixth would help pace a Gators attack that saw nine of their hits lead to extra bases.
Suffolk would start chipping away at the lead the bottom of the fifth. Gonnella drove in their first run on a fielder's choice before a double by junior Mandi Thorton (Methuen, Mass.) would lead to their second run of the inning.
A four-run sixth inning would setup for the drama in the seventh as freshman Nicole Rosa (Wallingford, Conn.) led the inning off with a single. McAndrews then hit her second home run of the season to make it a 7-4 game.
Sophomore Nikki Cignarella (Norwood, Mass.) quickly added a single and then came around to score later in the inning as the Rams' took advantage of one of five Gators' errors in the contest. Gonnella capped the scoring off with an RBI single following later in the inning.
Gonnella retired seven of the final eight hitters she faced, with the lone baserunner coming off a dropped third strike. She moved to a 5-3 record on the hill for the Rams.
Game Two: Suffolk 5 Pine Manor 4
The Rams narrowly escaped game two with a 5-4 victory as freshman Sarah Chasse (Salem, Mass.) locked down her fourth save of the year.
Suffolk opened the game scoring three times in the first inning as Nicole Rosa, Erin McAndrews and sophomore Samatha McGilvray (Brighton, Mass.) all provided RBI's for Suffolk.
The Gators would quickly answer however in the top of the second as senior Beth Deegan (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit Pine Manor's third home run of the day, a two-run blast that cut the Suffolk lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Rams would add some needed insurance scoring twice. Following back to back singles to start the inning by McAndrews and Cignarella, senior Karina Bolster (Carlisle, Pa.) set the Rams up with a sacrifice bunt. McAndrews would score in the following at-bat on a wild pitch, and McGilvray added her second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to left.
Beth Deegan would add an RBI single in the Pine Manor sixth to set up a scary seventh inning for the Rams.
Entering the seventh with a 5-3 lead, back to back singles would chase Gonnella from the game and bring in Chasse to the mound for the Rams. After back to back strike outs, Macayla Kirylo singled to make it a one-run game and allowing the go-ahead run to reach base. A wild pitch would then give the Gators two runners in scoring position with two outs, but Chasse would seal the victory for the Rams with a punchout as she punched out the side for her fourth save of the year.
Junior Tia Nelson (Rockport, Mass.) was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate for the Gators in game two as she helped pace a 10-hit attacked. Deegan was 2-for-3 with three RBI.
The loss droped Pine Manor to a 7-17 mark in both overall and GNAC season play.
Saturday's double header concluded the 2012 season for the Gators.