WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – An exciting run in the 2018 NCAA Division III Softball tournament came to an end for Amherst College on Sunday at Cole Field.
Amherst defeated Western New England 7-2 in nine innings to keep their regional hopes alive, but fell to Williams College 3-1 in the championship round, as the Ephs advanced to next weekend's Super-Regionals.
Amherst 7, Western New England 2 (9 innings)
Amherst took a 2-0 lead but needed extra innings to advance after the Golden Bears tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Falasco '21 homered and Sanders hit a bases-loaded triple in extra innings to break open the game for the Mammoths.
Sanders (7-14 for the tournament) was 4-5 on the day with three RBI and two runs scored at the top of the Amherst lineup, part of a 14-hit attack on the day. Falasco had two hits, including her solo home run in the top of the fourth that made the score 2-0 Amherst.
The Purple and White kept the score that way thanks to the work of center fielder Julia Turner '18, who threw out Paige Uliase at home in the bottom of the fifth inning. Uliase led off the inning with a double but was gunned down trying to score on a base hit by Carlie Moss.
Designated player Aimee Kistner tied the game for Western New England (25-19) with one swing of the bat when she hit a two-run homer off of Lorena Ukanwa '19, who took a no-decision after striking out eight batters over six innings.
All of the thunder in the ninth inning came with two outs for Amherst. First year Alyson Plaman singled in Falasco, who had singled and advanced to second on a ground out. Tuner and Ally Kido '18 also singled before Sanders cleared the bases with a triple to right field. Audrey Hansen '21 would knock in Sanders with another single, the fifth straight hit for Amherst.
Uliase and Moss each had two hits for Western New England, who had seven base knocks as a team.
Gina Pagan '18 threw three scoreless innings of relief and earned the win for Amherst, improving to 12-5 on the year.
Uliase also got no decision after five innings of two-run ball, while Kistner suffered the loss (11-7) when she allowed five earned runs in the ninth, ending her four innings of work.
Williams 3, Amherst 1
Amherst took a 1-0 lead after another solo home run by Falasco. Pagan had held the Ephs scoreless through four, but Eph senior Lexi Curt lined a one-out double to left center field in the fifth and the Ephs tied the game on a single to left by Kirstin Mapes.
Two more runs came in to score on a single to left by Margo Beck, and then Williams pitcher Rebecca Duncan got the Mammoths 1-2-3 in the sixth and pitched her way out of a bases-loaded opportunity for Amherst in the seventh to end the game.
Plaman had three of the Mammoths' six hits, while Curt, the Regional's Most OUstanding Player, was 2-4 for Williams.
The rest of the All-Tournament team consisted of Beck, Murphy and Duncan from Williams; Aimee Kirstner and Mallory Donelan of Western New England and Madelyn Fowler from Husson.