By Nicole Belair, Staff Writer
Softball started the season strong with eight wins and four losses over the course of Gene Cusic Classic spring training during spring break. The team headed down to Florida for the week, playing twelve games in Fort Myers and Naples.
The Corsairs earned their first two victories on March 10, the first day of spring training, against Alverno College and Kenyon College.
UMass Dartmouth took a 2-0 victory over Alverno to start off the day. After four-and-a-half scoreless innings, the Corsairs were able to get a runner in scoring position.
First-year, Maxine Vincent, reached first base on a walk. Hannah Sullivan, another first-year, followed with a bunt, allowing Vincent to advance to third. Senior, Gracie Trudeau, sent a ball down to first base, safely sending Vincent to the plate.
After a 1-2-3 sixth inning by Corsair pitcher, Victoria Woodward, the team was once again in scoring position. First-year, Cierra Sheerin, hit a single and advanced on an Alverno throwing error. Sheerin’s pinch-runner, McKenzie Joyce, scored on Annika Evensen’s crack into right-center.
UMass Dartmouth took their second victory of the day during game two: a 7-4 comeback win over Kenyon College.
Kenyon made contact early, claiming a 3-0 advantage in the top of the first. However, UMass Dartmouth held on strong, already able to tie it up at the bottom of the first.
Smith yielded only one more run for Kenyon over the next six innings, but the Corsairs’ offense kept making contact. Trudeau made it home on a double from Emily Colton in the second inning, breaking the tie in the second inning, and added on another RBI single after Smith sent an RBI-hit through the left side.
Junior, Rebecca Field, sent Marissa Spinuzzi home from second after a hit to right field in the fourth inning, capping off the scoring for UMass Dartmouth.
On Saturday, March 11, the Corsairs took on Nichols College and Edgewood College in Naples.
The game against Nichols would be UMass Dartmouth’s first extra-innings victory of the season, as the Corsairs prevailed with a final score of 4-3.
Evensen sent a single to right center in the top of the eighth inning, sending two Corsairs home. Smith’s solid performance through the final half inning led UMass Dartmouth to the extra-innings win.
Sophomore Corsair, Maddie O’Gryzek, connected first for the team, sending a bunt down the third-base line. O’Gryzek made it to third on a Nichols throwing error. Colton singled through the left side, plating O’Gryzek. Colton was on third and first-year, Nicole McSweeney, was on first two batters later. Evenson increased the Corsairs’ lead to two on a deep fly to right field.
Nichols came back in the fifth, scoring their first run. However, the Bison tied the game during the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
UMass Dartmouth went to work in the eighth inning, with McSweeney hitting a single and stealing second while Colton advanced to third. Evenson hit deep enough to plate both Corsairs and put the Corsairs up by two more. Nichols gained one back in the bottom of the eighth, but it would not be enough for the Bisons to steal the lead.
The Corsairs then faced Edgewood College with a 3-for-5 offensive performance and an errorless defense, leading them to a 9-1 win.
Spinuzzi started the scoring in the first inning with a single up the middle, sending Evensen and Colton home. The second and third were scoreless innings, but UMass Dartmouth had two more runs in the fourth with RBI doubles by Colton and Trudeau.
The Corsairs’ lead increased even further during the sixth and seventh, when Edgewood walked in a run and a hard hit from first-year, Lexi Pereira, down the first base line.
In the seventh, McSweeney tripled and plated Colton and Sullivan before scoring herself. Edgewood collected their only run in the team’s final at-bat when Alyssa Hickey hit an RBI single to left field.
Smith collected her first complete shutout game of the season on Sunday against Curry College as she struck out seven while only allowing five hits from the Colonels. Evensen singled in the Corsairs’ first at-bat and Sheerin sent a bunt down the third base line. Spinuzzi then sent a hit through the left side, plating Joyce, Evensen’s pinch-runner.
In the bottom of the fourth, Sheerin started the half inning off with a single and Spinuzzi followed with a double. First-year, Brittany Polk, sent a hit deep enough to send both Corsairs home.
Later that day, Evensen pitched to her first career win over Wilmington as the Corsairs persevered with a final score of 7-5.
The start of the game was scoreless; it wasn’t until the start of the third when UMass Dartmouth broke through for four runs. Wilmington responded with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame, then tied the score with a pair of RBIs.
Sheerin increased the UMass Dartmouth lead in the seventh, sending a fly to right field with two outs. Then, Wilmington had two runners in scoring position in the bottom half of the frame, ultimately forcing extra innings when one runner was sent home from third.
The Corsairs’ offense was strong in the eighth as they tacked on two more runs. Evensen finished the game with a swinging strikeout, with UMass Dartmouth finishing the day victorious.