Amherst Piles on 28 Hits in Doubleheader Sweep of Keene State

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College softball team's bats had been quiet as of late, but they came alive during Monday afternoon's doubleheader sweep of Keene State College. After chalking up 12 hits in a 6-1 win over the visiting Owls, the Lord Jeffs added another 16 to take the nightcap, 9-5. Amherst improves to 11-7 on the year and 6-0 in the all-time series, while Keene State falls to 10-6. 

Amherst's senior tri-captains stood out all afternoon, with Emily Neill (Kentfield, CA) going 6-for-8 on the day and Jackie Tyler (Ridgewood, NJ) adding a 5-for-8 performance. Lost among the 15 runs and 28 hits was another terrific pitching performance by Alex Chang-Graham (San Carlos, CA), who earned a complete-game victory by allowing only one run on six hits to improve to 6-4 on the season. 

The Owls had six hits and committed four errors in the opening game, with Nicole Dupuis '13 and Heather Harold '11 each going 2-for-3. Katie Bradford '12 went 1-for-2 with the team's lone RBI. In the second game, Laura Chandler '12 went 2-for-4 and drove in four of the team's five runs, while Haley Chandler '12 was also 2-for-4. The Owls had eight hits in the nightcap. 

The Lord Jeffs had been struggling to put their leadoff hitters on base this season, but today was a much different story as Amherst led off six innings with a hit, including each of the first three innings in game two. In addition to her outstanding day at the plate as the team's leadoff hitter, Tyler played flawlessly in center field for Amherst. 

In the opening game's first inning, Haley Chandler tripled off the fence in right field and would score on a sacrifice fly when Bradford laced a line drive to Tyler in center, but Chang-Graham shut the visitors down the rest of the way and finished with six strikeouts without walking a single batter. Amherst took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second and never looked back, adding two runs in the fourth, one in the fifth and one in the sixth. 

Ashley Clark '12 took the loss to drop to 1-2 on the season, surrendering four runs—two earned—on six hits in 3.2 innings. Emily Albin '12 allowed one run on three hits in 1.1 innings of relief, while Samantha Pratt '12 took the hill for the bottom of the sixth. Pratt struck out the first two batters she faced, but an error extended the inning and led to an RBI-single by Carly Dudzik '12 (Darien, CT). 

Keene State jumped out to an early lead in the second game as well when Bradford belted a two-out homer to left field. Bradford's first home run of the season bounced off the top of the fence and hopped over, as Amherst starting pitcher Christina Anderson '13 (Port St. Lucie, FL) fell into an early hole.

As was the case with the first game, it did not take Amherst long to swipe the lead from Keene State, as the Jeffs held a 6-1 advantage after two innings. Tyler and first-year Megan Kepnach (Piscataway, NJ) hit back-to-back triples to get things going in the bottom of the first, with an RBI-double by Neill and a run-scoring single up the middle by Stephanie Clegg '12 (Woburn, MA) making it a 3-1 game after one frame. 

Theresa Kelley '13 (Los Angeles, CA) came just inches shy of a homer when she led off the bottom of the second with a double to left field, but she and Tyler would eventually score on a three-run shot by Dudzik, who brought the score to 6-1 with her team-leading fourth long ball of the season.

Laura Chandler answered immediately for the Owls by belting a three-run homer of her own in the top of the third. Her second home run of the season came with two outs and scored Sara Stocklinski '12 and Haley Chandler, who had walked and singled, respectively. 

Kelley came in to pitch for Amherst in the top of the fifth, and Keene State cut its deficit to one (6-5) when the Chandlers once again connected to produce a run, this time with Laura singling to right field to bring in Haley, who had reached on a bunt single. 

That would be the visitors' final run of the day, however, as Kelley pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh to earn the save. The Jeffs got a pair of insurance runs when Clegg took a 0-2 pitch the other way, singling through the right side of the infield to plate Dudzik and Neill. First-year Reilly Horan (Darien, CT) scored the game's final run on a passed ball, as the hosts gained some breathing room and held on for the 9-5 win. 

Anderson improved to 2-0 by pitching the first four innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Kelley struck out four and allowed only one unearned run in three solid innings of relief. 

The loss went to Courtney Savoie '12 (3-2), who surrendered five earned runs on seven hits in one inning of work. Pratt pitched the next four innings and gave up three runs on eight hits, with Albin pitching the sixth inning and allowing only one hit and one unearned run. Albin and Pratt each had two strikeouts in the nightcap. 

Amherst's batting average jumped from .279 to .298 with the doubleheader sweep, with Neill bumping her season clip to .458 and Anderson moving up to .448. 

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Wednesday, Apr. 7, when they head to Westfield State College for a non-conference doubleheader. The Owls will play Westfield State in a doubleheader Thursday, Apr. 8.