WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – Needing just eighty total pitches and facing only 23 batters, Amherst College junior Lorena Ukanwa pitched the Mammoths to a 2-0 victory over Western New England University in the opening game of the 2018 NCAA Division III Softball Regional at Cole Field.
Ukanwa gave up just a leadoff walk in the first and a single in the fourth inning and struck out eight batters to improve to 17-1 on the year and lower her ERA to 1.65.
The game breezed by, played in under an hour and twenty minutes, as Paige Uliase stymied the Mammoths through five scoreless innings before the Purple and White scored a pair in the bottom of the sixth.
Kate Kopatic '19 opened the sixth with a single to center field against Uliase, and gave way to pinch-runner Nicole Trezza '21, who promptly stole second base. With an error and a walk, Amherst (28-6) loaded the bases and pushed across Tressa on a fielder's choice by Kyra Naftel.
Senior Ally Kido plated an insurance run by bringing home Ronnie Falasco '21 with a groundout to pitcher. Falasco, who had taken a walk, was also 1-2 at the plate.
Catcher Mallory Donelan had the only hit of the game for the Golden Bears (24-17), smacking a single to third base, but was stranded at second base.
Andrea Sanders '20 was 2-2 for the Mammoths, the only player on either side with a multi-hit game.
Amherst will now play in the winner's game on Saturday against the winner of Friday's other opening round contest, between host Williams and NAC Champion Husson University. Saturday's first game is slated for 11:00 AM, but could potentially be pushed earlier because of rain in the forecast.