BOSTON – Playing in New England for the first time in 2017, the Suffolk softball team is set for two weekend series as the Rams stop by Emerson Friday, March 24 before trekking to Salem State Saturday, March 25. The twin bill across town versus the Lions is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. first pitch, while game one against the Vikings has an 11 a.m. start.
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RUNDOWN ON THE RAMS
Suffolk took its first trip to the Cooper State for the Tucson Invitational where the Rams faced top tier competition and went 4-6. Suffolk started out on a high with a 3-2 win over then-No. 24 Central and went on to collect victories over Eastern Connecticut State (3-0), Wisconsin Platteville (8-6) and Dickinson (2-1) in extras.
Jill Pulek has been the most consistent at the plate, hitting .485 and slugging .727, thanks to eight doubles. The sophomore designated hitter has a team-high 16 hits for a squad-best nine RBI to go along with three runs. Outfielder Sydney Littlefield has been a spark at the top of the lineup for the Rams with the junior producing a .367 average on 11 hits and 30 plate appearances. The outfielder has crossed home six times and brought in two runs. Devlin Frost also adds to Suffolk's offense with a team-high nine runs, while contributed 12 hits and four RBI with a .353 average.
In the circle, Ali Yamakaitis is the Rams' go-to arm with the junior twirler posting a 1.75 ERA, which sits third in the GNAC, in five appearances and starts. The junior boasts a 3-2 record in 32.0 innings pitched, giving up 13 runs, eight earned, on 33 hits with 20 strikeouts to her credit. Suffolk's bullpen of Jaclyn Flint (6.39 ERA), Taylor Holmes (10.27 ERA) and Hannah DelCervo (29.40) all saw time in the circle in Tucson.
LOOK AT THE LIONS
Emerson, who went 1-9 in Florida, has since returned to Beantown where it swept a twin bill versus Lesley, (4-2/11-2), before falling in five to Suffolk's fellow GNAC member Johnson & Wales 11-2 Tuesday. In the midst of a homestand, the Lions welcome the Rams to Rotch Field at 3-10 on the season.
Jacqueline DeFusco is the main force at the plate for the Lions with a .447 average, .500 on-base percentage and .579 slugging percentage. The junior has produced 17 hits, including five doubles, for three RBI and six runs. Sophomore Kallista Leonardos paces the pack in RBI with nine on 10 hits, including three homers and has scored five herself, while Alena Jones is the team leader in runs scored with eight, while adding six RBI on 12 hits.
Six different arms have taken the circle for Emerson this season. Kodie Cash proves to be the most consistent as the junior boasts a team-best 4.00 ERA in six appearances in four starts with 16 runs allowed off 18 hits and 13 strikeouts. Keely Marquez, meanwhile, has a 5.50 ERA in seven appearances, six starts. In 34.2 innings pitched the rookie has given up 31 runs, 25 earned, off 31 hits and sat down nine batters.
INSIDE THE SERIES
The Suffolk, Emerson rivalry dates back to first season of Suffolk softball, 1987, with the Lions holding the series lead, 30-21. The Rams swept the doubleheader last season by scores of 2-1 and 11-4.
VIEW ON THE VIKINGS
Salem State put together a 7-3 Spring Break trip to Naples, Florida and hosts Suffolk in its first New England action of 2017.
Marisa Sanchez' .444 average leads the way with the shortstop starting in nine of the Vikings 10 games this season. She holds team-high numbers in hits (12) and runs (11) to go along with five RBI. Jen Crovo matches Schanez' team-best number in hits with 12 of her own in 35 plate appearances (.343) to registered six RBI and nine runs scored. Chlose Maousos has brought in the most runs for Salem with nine off an identical number of hits, three of which went for extra bases, to go along with nine runs scored.
Three different hurlers have taken the circle for the Vikings this year. Ileish Burney leads the way with a 2.90 ERA in eight appearances, five starts. The sophomore went 31.0 innings, allowing 20 runs, 10 earned, on 45 hits and 11 strikeouts. Meghan Black, who has earned the nod four times and seen action in six games, brings a 3.27 ERA into the weekend through 22.0 innings pitched, giving up 14 runs, eight earned off 25 hits with five strikeouts.
After the weekend on the road, Suffolk is set to open the home portion of its schedule Tuesday, March 28 when it welcomes Brandeis to East Boston Memorial Park. The doubleheader against the Judges is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start.