EAST BOSTON – The Suffolk softball team saluted its two seniors - Meredith Ball and Nicole Isakson - in sweeping fashion as the Rams cruised past the Raiders of Rivier in a GNAC doubleheader Saturday afternoon at East Boston Memorial Park.
With the 11-0, five-inning shutout of game one, combined with a University of St. Joseph (Conn.) 2-0 win over Johnson & Wales, Suffolk clinched the GNAC regular season title outright and first-place in the conference championship tournament. The Rams did not let up in the regular season finale, however, as the blue-and-gold used a six-run sixth-inning to comeback against the Raiders (11-21, 6-16 GNAC) and head into the tournament, 29-7 overall and 18-4 against conference competition.
GAME 1 | SUFFOLK 11, RIVIER 0 - 5 INNINGS
Back-to-back jacks gave Suffolk a nice 3-0 lead after the first inning. Morgan Parmeter started Suffolk's offense in stand up fashion. The sophomore left fielder sent a shot over the left field fence for the second time this season and brought Nicole Isakson, who used a single to right field to get on base, in with her for a two-out, two RBI, 2-0 lead. Delaney Sylvester followed that with a home run of her own, matching Parmeter's spot in left, to advance the Rams' lead to three.
Isakson got in on the RBI action in the bottom of the second. With Evelyn Marquis and McKenzie McGrath on base thanks to a lead-off walk and single, respectively, Isakson had both runners in scoring position thanks Jess Shanahan's wild pitch. The senior lobbed a single to right center to allow Marquis and McGrath to round the bases and push Suffolk's lead to 5-0.
Devlin Frost kept the Rams' offense going in the second stanza with a single to right center, advancing Iskason to second, before the right fielder took third on the Raiders' throw in. Frost sniped second during Parmeter's at bat, which ended in a pop up to second, to put runners on third and second for Sylvester's second at bat of the afternoon. Sylvester added racked her RBI total to three in just in the second inning with a base hit to right center that scored Frost and Isakson and stretched Suffolk's cushion to seven. The Raiders made a change in the circle as Kerri Hegarty took over of Shanahan and the visitors got out of the winning in a 7-0 hole.
Suffolk's multi-run innings did not let up in the third as the Rams' tacked three more on the scoreboard. Iskason added to her growing stat line with her third RBI of the day on her third hit at her third at bat. With the bases loaded and no outs, the Avon, Connecticut, product singled to the shortstop score Marquis, who started the inning with a bunt. McGrath came in as Frost scarified herself, before Parmeter launched a rocket over the shortstop's glove to bring in Meredith Ball. Sylvester grounded into a double play to end the inning, but Suffolk did damage, stretching its cushion to double figures, 10-0.
Why stop the scoring in the fourth? The Rams' didn't as they continued their offense onslaught thanks to Elissa Mogauro. After a handful of foul tips, the sophomore made it count when she connected, with the righty sending the ball out of the park for the first time of her collegiate career, stretching the Rams' advantage to 11-0. Mogauro's bomb marked the third time this season that Suffolk had three home runs in a single contest.
With the double digit advantage, Suffolk handled Rivier in the top of the fifth to seal their 28th victory of the season. Ali Yamakaitis threw her fifth punch out of the day followed by two ground outs to take the opener.
Isakson was perfect that plate, 3-for-3, with three RBI and two runs scored to lead the potent Suffolk offense. Parmeter and Sylvester also had multi-hit games, with two apiece, and the sophomores both collected three RBI and one run.
Yamakaitis twirled her way to her 11th win of the season with a the five-inning, complete-game, one-hitter. The sophomore righty struck out five and walked two. The shutout is Yamakaitis' third of the season, while it was the just the second time the hurler tossed a one-hit complete game in her collegiate career.
GAME 2 | SUFFOLK 6 RIVIER 1
Three singles loaded the bases for Rivier in the top of the third. With one out, Kim Crucioli walked Lia Bobek allow the Raiders to open up a scoreless game. The Rams got out of the inning on a double play to keep the visitors lead at just one, 1-0.
The Rams stranded one in the bottom half of the third, but was kept quiet until the bottom of the sixth. Singles by pinch hitters Marquis and Jill Pulek sandwiched a bunt by Ball to load the bases. On the first pitch Frost saw, the sophomore right fielder let it sail to deep right to clear the bases. Frost's third triple of the season gave the Rams' their first lead of the closer, 3-1. Frost came in on Parmeter's single to center field to make it a 4-1 Suffolk contest.
Linday Pagano's sacrifice fly plated Parmeter, before Jacklyn Flint's single down the left line scored Karina Miranda to push Suffolk to a 6-1 lead as the Rams' went through their lineup in the sixth.
The score would hold in the seventh as Suffolk and Crucioli only let one Raider on base in the top of the seventh to seal the victory.
Eight different players accounted for all the Rams' 8 hits with Frost's three RBI leading the scoring.
Cruccioli picked up her seventh win of the season as the jurnio gave up one run on seven hits, punched out four and walked one in the complete game effort.
With first-place clinched, Suffolk will play host to the 2016 GNAC Tournament at East Boston Memorial Park May 6-8. Action is set to get underway Friday afternoon with match-ups to be determined.