WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Stephanie Clegg '12 (Woburn, MA) picked a good time to hit her first home run of the 2010 season, as the sophomore slugger's three-run shot in the top of the seventh inning gave the Amherst College softball team a 4-3 lead over host Williams College. The visitors' lead would hold up, keeping the Lord Jeffs in the playoff hunt.
The Jeffs (18-14, 6-4 NESCAC West) and Ephs (14-9-1/7-3 NESCAC West) will meet Saturday in Amherst, with the first of two games beginning at noon. Amherst will need to sweep its archrival in order to qualify for the 2010 NESCAC Championship. Williams needs to win only one game to secure a postseason berth.
Williams scored once in the third and took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, but Amherst got on the board in the top of the sixth when Clegg started a rally with a single through the left side of the infield and advanced to second on an error. Clegg moved to third on a groundout and scored when first-year Reilly Horan '13 (Darien, CT) singled to right field.
The Ephs got a run back in the home half of the sixth to make it a 3-1 game, but Amherst took the lead without recording an out in the seventh. Carly Dudzik '12 (Darien, CT) got her team going by singling down the left field line, senior tri-captain Emily Neill (Kentfield, CA) walked, and Clegg turned the tables with one swing of the bat on a full count.
Williams put runners on second and third with only one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Alex Chang-Graham (San Carlos, CA) wrapped up a complete-game performance by getting an Eph to pop up to the pitcher's mound on a suicide squeeze attempt. Chang-Graham made the catch, turned and flipped the ball to Dudzik at third base for the game's final out, giving the Lord Jeffs a dramatic win that lived up the Amherst-Williams rivalry.
Chang-Graham struck out three and allowed seven hits to improve to 9-7 on the season. The Jeffs had seven hits themselves, with Clegg going 2-for-3 and Jillian Masi '11 (Stamford, CT) finishing at 3-for-3. Neill and Megan Kepnach '13 (Piscataway, NJ) each walked twice.
Saturday's games will feature live statistics. Prior to the first game, Amherst will honor Chang-Graham, Neill and Jackie Tyler '10 (Ridgewood, NJ) for Senior Day.