AMHERST, Mass. – In their home opener against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Wednesday evening, the Amherst softball team fell by a 6-1 margin before the last inning heroics of Alyson Plaman '21 and Ronnie Falasco '21 solidified a 3-2 win over the Engineers in game two which marked their first win on their home field this season.
The Mammoths split the opening double-header at home, moving them to 9-3 on the year while WPI drops to 10-6. The Mammoths are back in action on Friday (March 29th) when they open their division play on the road against Little Three Rival Wesleyan University, beginning at 5:00 PM.
In the opening game, defense played a key factor as they two sides were deadlocked heading into the bottom of the third. A pop up in shallow centerfield from WPI's Kylie Juarez wasn't enough to get on base as Amherst's Kyra Naftel '19 laid out to thwart another Engineer opportunity in the second inning.
The Mammoths were first to strike in the third as Andrea Sanders '20 slapped a slow roller down the third base line, reaching first without any throw from Caraline Wood. Sanders stole second and reached third after Woods tagged Audrey Hansen '21 for the first out of the inning. Kate Kopatic '20 stepped to the plate and drove a shot to centerfield to score Sanders.
However, in the very next inning the Engineers tied it back up after an opening double from Renee LeClaire began the rally. Nicole Kuberka moved LeClaire to third on a sac bunt while Lindsay Ambrosino singled through the left side to bring things back even. WPI refused to look back from there as a home run in the fifth from Woods put them up 2-1 before a four-run seventh inning secured the Engineers 10th win on the season
Lorena Ukanwa '19 went the full game, allowing 12 hits but striking out four to move to 3-2 overall on the season. Mackenzie Phillips received the win and improved to 5-3 overall after giving up eight hits and striking out seven. Kopatic and Sammy Salustri '19 led the Mammoths in the first game with two hits apiece.
The Mammoths came out fighting in the first inning to go up 1-0 in game two. Hansen singled to center field and stole second with two outs to put herself in scoring position. Sage Innerarity '22, who finished with a game-high three hits, laced one up the middle to bring Hansen around.
The Engineers were able to answer in the next inning after Skylar O'Connell drove a triple over the head of Nicole Trezza '21 to score Juarez and Kuberka from second and third. Amherst was able to escape after Cassie Graca flied out to left field to end the inning with WPI up 2-1.
After scoreless third and fourth innings, the Mammoths were finally able to bring things back even when a two out rally arose in the bottom of the fifth. Falasco sat at first base after singling up the middle before Naftel pocketed a double down the left field line that rolled all the way to the corner. Falasco was able to reach home with ease to bring the score to 2-2 heading into the final two innings of play.
Falasco continued her strong hitting efforts with a shot to right center field in the seventh, placing her on second with no outs. On one of the ensuing pitches, the ball came loose from the catchers grasp, allowing enough time for Falasco to snag third base. Plaman calmly struck a shot in between the third basemen and short stop to clinch the first win for Amherst on their home field.
First-year Talia Bloxham continued her impressive rookie campaign by tallying another win (5-1) while Abigail O'Conner recorded her second loss so far this season after allowing three hits and one run.