PROVIDENCE, R.I. – No. 9 batter Kayla Santos (Peabody, MA) drove in her first two runs of the season with a double and freshman Kat Devolve (Plainfield) plated her with the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in a three-run top of the seventh that lifted the Eastern Connecticut State University softball team to a 6-5 victory and a split of its non-conference doubleheader with Johnson & Wales University Thursday.
Johnson & Wales (25-11) won its eighth straight game in the opener, 7-2, behind Jennifer Corona's complete-game five-hitter, with Eastern (15-18) losing pitcher Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) accounting for Eastern's only runs with her second and third home runs of the season leading off the third and with one out in the fifth.
Batting for only the seventh time this year, Santos tied the game with a single – her first hit of the year -- that drove in freshman Christine Guyette (Mansfield) and freshman pinch hitter Alexis Tyrrell (Torrington) – each of whom had singled – and scored the go-ahead run from third on Devolve's sacrifice fly to center.
Bolduk (9-8), a freshman, was credited with her first career save in the second game, stranding the tying run on first with a swinging strikeout and comeback popup to make a winner of sophomore lefty reliever Morgan Sanson (Thomaston). Sanson was summoned while the Wildcats were scoring four runs to take a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth. Sanson (3-6) allowed only one run in 4 1/3 innings, fanning six and walking two, before giving way to Bolduk after issuing a one-out walk in the seventh and Eastern leading, 6-5.
Eastern scored three runs in the top of the third of the first game on four doubles to stake sophomore righty Haleigh Cardello (Litchfield, NH) to an early lead – with Devolve plating Bolduk (leadoff double) for the first run and Guyette driving in two with her first career extra-base hit, also a double. The hosts answered quickly in the bottom of the inning, however, batting around and scoring four runs on seven hits – five straight to start the inning – and driving Cardello from the box before an out was recorded.
Sophomore second baseman Jackie Lewis (Mystic) was one of five Eastern hitters with more than one hit on the day. Lewis was 4-for-7, while Bolduk reached five times with a double and two home runs and two walks, scored three runs and drove in two. Devolve and Guyette each had two hits and two RBI. Ten of Eastern's 19 hits on the day went for extra bases. Sophomore shortstop Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford) extended her on-base streak to ten games games by walking in the first inning of the opener and delivering a pinch double in the second game.
The Wilcats, who entered play with 22 home runs and 93 extra-base hits, had six doubles and a home run. Ally Mishol (four runs) and Brenna DuPerry each had four hits, with Kristin Frost doubling twice and homering and plating four runs. Meghan Gavin had three hits and three RBI.
Eastern closes out its Little East Conference regular season Saturday with a 1 p.m. home doubleheader against Keene State College.