AMHERST, Mass. – Despite a late push in the seventh inning, the Amherst softball team fell to Williams by a score of 5-3 in the first game of their conference series on Wednesday evening at Amherst Softball Field.
Amherst dropped to 16-8 overall and 3-4 in conference while the Ephs improved to 24-4 and maintained their undefeated 7-0 in NESCAC play. The Little Three foes will be back in action on Saturday in a doubleheader to conclude their final series with opening pitch coming at 12:00 PM in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The Mammoths were able to bring a pair of runs back in their final at bat when Julia Turner '19 led off with a bunt single and reached second on another bunt from Nicole Trezza '21. Kyra Naftel '19 moved the runners into scoring position with a ground out to first base before Salustri's shot up the middle brought home Turner. Audrey Hansen '21 blasted a shot to left field but a diving catch from Jill Jenkin kept the runners at bay until Virginia Ryan '22 scored the final run for the Mammoths with a single to left field. The Ephs were able to escape with the win after a ground out to second base, maintaining their unblemished conference record.
Rebecca Duncan got things started for the Ephs in the top half of the inning with a single to right center field before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Mackenzie Murphy walked while Kirstin Mapes was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Lorena Ukanwa '19 struck out Williams leading hitter, Mara Kipnis, before a two RBI single from Riley Salvo got the Ephs on the board. However, Trezza was able to end the inning for the Mammoths after catching a deep fly ball at the warning track.
Naftel put a Mammoth in scoring position early in the bottom of the first with a double to right center field. In the next at bat, Sammy Salustri '19 reached on a fielder's choice after hitting a ground ball to Murphy in the circle where she turned and threw out Naftel at third. Amherst finished the inning after grounding out to Kristina Alvarado at short stop.
After a hitless second inning for both sides, Williams nabbed another run in the top of third after a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases with no outs. Talia Bloxham '22 came into pitch for Danica Peterson '22 after a hit by pitch plated Murphy. Bloxham came in and struck out Casey Pelz in her first batter before forcing a ground out to Sage Innerarity '22 who got the force out at home. Bloxham left the inning unscathed after Alvarado grounded out to Salustri at second.
The Mammoths brought one back in the bottom of the third when Innerarity reached first on an error and Andrea Sanders '20 singled to left field. Trezza moved the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Naftel grounded out to first base unassisted before Salustri's RBI single to center field marked the first score on the day for the Mammoths. Jenny Hickey thwarted further opportunities for the home side after converting a routine ground out to second base.
A standstill ensued in the fourth and fifth inning with only one hit coming from the away side before the Ephs struck again in the top of the sixth, scoring two runs on two hits and one error. Williams had runners on first and second with one out when Murphy came up to bat, lacing a difficult shot to second base that was enough to bring around Jessica Kim. The Ephs weren't done as Mapes singled to center field in the next at bat to score Duncan from second base before a pair of fly outs ended the inning.