Third-seeded Simmons College (25-9, 17-5 GNAC) defeated #5 Suffolk University (21-23, 11-11 GNAC), 6-1, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Softball Tournament elimination game at Richard W. Bailey Field on Saturday morning.
Simmons took advantage of three fielding errors by Suffolk, which enlisted a pair of pitchers – Sarah Chasse (Salem, Mass.) and Kim Crucioli (North Andover, Mass.) – who combined to walk 10 batters in a losing effort. The Sharks move on and will play another losers' bracket contest – versus University of Saint Joseph (CT) or Norwich University – at 4:00 PM. For the Rams, the loss signals the end of the 2014 campaign.
The Sharks kicked off the game scoring with a run off one hit in the top of the first, when junior shortstop Hannah Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.) singled and scored on a bases-loaded walk issues to Alaina DeNoncour (Johnston, R.I.). The damage could have been much worse, as Chasse worked out of a bases loaded with one out scenario by fanning Jess Uschmann (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and Lauren Backhaus (Windsor, Conn.).
Simmons delivered a major blow in the top of the third, plating three runs on two hits and a pair of Suffolk miscues to gain a 4-0 cushion. The Sharks batted around in the frame, starting with sophomore center fielder Heather White (Westfield, Mass.), who opened the inning with a base hit through the right side. White moved to second on a sac bunt by DeNoncour and quickly scored on a single by Uschmann, who moved up to third on an outfield error before being replaced by pinch-runner Amy Maher (Milton, Mass.), who scampered home when a fly ball hit by Backhaus was dropped, making it a 3-0 game. Sophomore second baseman Mikaela Caracciolo (North Attleboro, Mass.) extended the Sharks' lead with another bases-loaded walk, as Simmons owned a 4-0 cushion through two and a half innings.
Suffolk found the scoreboard in the bottom of the third when Chasse plated freshman left fielder Emily Martel (East Hartford, Conn.) with a double to left-center, cutting the Rams' deficit to 4-1 after three.
Simmons tacked on a run in the fourth, when freshman Tanya Stasio (Revere, Mass.) – pinch-running for DeNoncour, who walked – scored on a Backhaus single to right. The Sharks assumed a 6-1 cushion when junior left fielder Jen Field (Windham, Maine/McAuley) reached via bunt single and later scored on a misplayed ball.
For the Sharks, Christina Mulcahy (Cambridge, Mass.) was 2-3 with a run and a stolen base and White went 2-4 with a run. Backhaus picked up the victory after yielding a run off four hits and a walk with six strikeouts in a complete-game effort.
Courtesy of Saint Joseph's Maine Sports Information