Softball

2017 RECORD: 24-8; NESCAC: 10-2; NR: 25 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES: 3 NESCAC CHAMPIONSHIP APPEARANCES: 5

Kopatic Blasts Two-Run Walk-Off Homer to Lift Amherst Past Keene State, 9-8

Kopatic Blasts Two-Run Walk-Off Homer to Lift Amherst Past Keene State, 9-8

AMHERST, Mass. – Kate Kopatic '20 collected five RBI, including a two-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth, to help extend the Mammoths win streak to 13 as the Amherst College softball team posted a 9-8 victory over Keene State Wednesday afternoon at the Amherst Softball Field.

With the win, Amherst improves to 23-6 overall, while Keene falls to 13-11 on the season. The Mammoths return to action when they host their archrival Williams on Friday, April 21 in a single game matchup beginning at 5:00 p.m.

The Owls batted through their entire lineup in the first inning, plating five runs on four hits while taking advantage of two Amherst errors. Kayla Votto drew a leadoff walk, stole second and scored on an Aliza Guerrero single to centerfield before back-to-back singles and an Owl double plated another run for Keene. With a 2-0 edge, the next two batters reached first on fielding errors that allowed the Owls to tally three more runs as Keene closed the top of first owning a 5-0 lead. 

Answering back with a run in the bottom of the frame, Annie McCluskey '20 used an Owl error to reach first and moved to second on an Ally Kido '18 fielder's choice before Julia Turner '19 traded places with McCluskey behind a two-out RBI double to set the score at 5-1.

Chipping away at the Keene State lead, Amherst held the Owls scoreless in the second and plated two more runs in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to 5-3. Andrea Sanders '20 and Kopatic drew back-to-back walks and advanced on a Scout Boynton '20 sacrifice bunt. With runners in scoring position, Sanders scampered home on a passed ball before Kyra Naftel '19 drove in Kopatic on a single to center.

Keene extended its lead to 6-3 at the top of the third on a solo shot by Shae Crosby, but Kopatic blasted her first homerun of the game over the centerfield wall with two runners on in the bottom of the stanza to knotting the score at 6-6.

Neither team could plate a run in the final four innings of the matchup, as the Mammoths and Owls entered extra innings to decided the victor. 

Placing a runner on second per the tiebreaker rule, both teams scored in the eighth to deadlock the contest at 7-7. In the top of the ninth, the Owls used a single to move its placed runner to third and scored on a groundout to the Amherst shortstop. Down by one, Kopatic belted a two-run walk-off homerun to seal the victory.

Jackie Buechler '17 earned the start in the circle tossing three innings, before Gina Pagan '18 (14-3) pitched the final six innings, fanning five in the winning effort.

BY THE NUMBERS

• The Owls and the Mammoths notched 12 hits a piece, while Keene held a 2-3 advantage in errors.
•  Salustri was perfect at the plate going 3-for-3 with a double and drew a walk, while Lauren Tuiskula and Naftel also recorded a multi-hit game in the win.