AMHERST, Mass. – The No. 25 Amherst College softball team captured a thrilling, 4-3 victory in nine innings over archrival Williams College in its single NESCAC West contest Sunday afternoon, securing a spot in the NESCAC playoffs for the second consecutive year Sunday afternoon at the Amherst Softball Field.
With the win, Amherst improves to 24-8 overall, 10-2 in conference action, while Williams moves to 24-10 on the season, 7-1 in the conference. Amherst will host Western New England University Wednesday, April 26 for its final non-conference double header beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the Amherst Softball Field.
Scoreless after two innings, the Mammoths got on the scoreboard first with a solo home run from first-year Kate Kopatic. Holding onto a 1-0 advantage, Amherst scored again in the bottom of the fourth when Lauren Tuiskula '17 ripped a two-out double to center field and scored on a Sammy Salustri '19 single to right.
The Ephs cut the deficit in half when Brenna Martinez cracked a leadoff homer, and then knotted the score at 2-2 in the top of the sixth. Lexi Curt drew a walk to lead off the stanza before stealing second and advancing to third on a groundout. Margo Beck walked to put runners on the corners and nearly got doubled off on a line out to the shortstop, but the throw ricocheted off Beck's helmet, allowing Curt to tie the contest.
Williams plated the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh on a wild pitch, but Amherst was able to send the game into extra innings on back-to-back doubles from Kopatic and Julia Turner '19 in the bottom half of the frame.
With neither team scoring in the eighth, Williams singled with one out in the top of the frame, but Kopatic caught Rebecca Duncan stealing to clear the bases before Lorena Ukanwa '19 retired the final Ephs batter on a strikeout.
Turner stayed patient at the plate with two outs before drawing a walk and stealing second to get into scoring position. Andrea Sanders '20 used a walk-off double to capture the 4-3 victory for the Mammoths.
Gina Pagan '18 started in the circle for Amherst pitching 5.1 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four. Ukanwa improved her record to 6-2 hurling the final 3.2 innings of relief fanning seven batters.
BY THE NUMBERS
• Amherst held an 11-6 edge in hits and a 1-2 advantage in errors over Williams.
• Tuiskula went 3-for-5 at the plate, while Kopatic and Turner were both 2-for-3. Kopatic collected an RBI and scored once and Turner recorded an RBI and a run scored.