After a doubleheader victory over local rival Western New England Univ. last Wednesday, the women’s softball team completed a weekend sweep of Hamilton to remain undefeated in NESCAC West (6-0). The Jeffs are now 27-1 with just two weeks left in regular season play.
Last Wednesday, Amherst came from behind in the second game of the doubleheader for a decisive 15-4 victory after defeating the Golden Bears, 5-1, in the first game. First-year Donna Leet led the team with a record-breaking performance, surpassing the program’s single-season RBI record set in 1998. The rookie finished 6-for-7 on the day after driving in four runs, bringing her season total to 34.
WNE jumped out to an early lead with a two-out homerun in the top of the first, but runs from Leet, Reilly Horan ’13 and Kelsey Ayers ’15 gave the Jeffs a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first frame.
The Golden Bears looked threatening in the top of the second with two runners on base, but Theresa Kelley ’13 struck out the final batter to maintain the Jeffs’ lead. Kelley held off WNE for the next few innings, surrendering just one hit and striking out three batters over the next three innings. Amherst added a fourth run in the bottom of the fifth to secure the three-run advantage.
Ayers shined in the sixth inning, doubling to left field for her sixth RBI of the season and bringing first-year Alyssa Sherwill around home plate to give the Jeffs a decisive 5-1 victory.
Kelley struck out 11 players without giving up a single walk to earn her 13th win of the season. Striking out 67 batters in her last nine performances, she currently leads the conference in strikeouts.
WNE looked threatening in the beginning of the second game, loading the bases with just one out in the first frame. A line drive to third brought home the Golden Bears’ first run before WNE’s Katie Eckert reached on an Amherst error to make it 2-0.
A wild pitch from sophomore Arielle Doering sent Eckert to second, bringing home the runner on third to stretch WNE’s lead to three. A walk and a single would be enough for the Golden Bear’s fourth run, as Kelley came in for relief to halt the offensive burst.
Looking to rebound from a four-run deficit, Ayers led off the bottom of the first with a double before captain Carly Dudzik ’12 belted a homer to left field to cut WNE’s lead to just two.
The Jeffs added two more runs in the bottom of the second before Leet notched her 32nd RBI of the season, breaking the program’s single-season RBI record and bringing home Ayers to put Amherst ahead, 5-4.
Amherst displayed its offensive prowess over the next two frames, driving home three runs in the third and seven in the fourth to end the game after just five innings. Ayers and Dudzik shined in the second game, combining for 10 RBIs. Dudzik finished 4-for-4 on the day after driving in five runs, while Ayers went 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple. Kelley added six strikeouts to her total and improved to 14-0 on the season.
On Friday, the Jeffs opened up a three-game weekend at Hamilton with a 6-3 victory in a tight back-and-forth match-up.
The game was quiet until the bottom of the fifth, when a double to left field drove home the Continental’s first run. Hamilton then took advantage of an Amherst error for a pair of runs, stretching the lead to three.
Triples from Dudzik and first-year Idalia Friedson on either end of a Carolyn Miller ’14 RBI single quickly put the Jeffs back in the game with a 3-3 tie. Runs from Kelley, Ayers and Horan in the top of the seventh would secure the 6-3 victory.
Ayers finished 4-for-4 with one run in the seventh inning comeback, marking her third straight multi-hit effort. Dudzik went 1-for-4 on the day with one run after batting .600 over her previous eight games.
Saturday’s doubleheader victory against Hamilton kept the Jeffs undefeated in NESCAC West play as they earned their 27th win of the season. Amherst opened the afternoon with a 5-2 victory before defeating the Continentals 8-2 in the second game.
Amherst kicked off scoring in the third inning, bringing home two runs on three hits. Ayers jumpstarted the effort with a two-out single before stealing second. A single and a stolen base from Silkowitz then put runners on second and third, and a double from Leet brought both players home for the 2-0 lead.
Doering kept the Continentals at bay for the next two innings as Amherst tacked on three runs, but Hamilton rebounded in the bottom of the seventh with two scores before loading the bases for a final effort. First-year Caroline Sealander moved in for relief, striking out her first batter and forcing the next to ground out to secure the 5-2 victory.
Surrendering just one earned run in six-and-a-third innings, Doering notched her seventh victory of the season.
The Jeffs tallied their first run of the next game in the second inning after two stolen bases from Dudzik, and an RBI single from Karina Kossler ’15 brought the captain around home plate.
Amherst kept quiet until the top of the seventh, when the Jeffs opened the floodgates with seven runs on seven hits. Dudzik started the rally with a lead-off triple before Kossler singled to put runners on first and third. A triple from Ayers sent both players home, giving the Jeffs a 3-0 lead.
Ayers and Leet each tallied a run in the offensive burst, while a Dudzik double sent Doering, Kelley and Miller home for three RBIs. Hamilton once again made a final effort in the bottom of the seventh with two runs, but it wouldn’t be enough for the win as the Jeffs walked away with the 8-2 victory.
Dudzik finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs, leading an Amherst offense that recorded 13 hits in the game. Kelley had another stellar performance, allowing just five hits in six shutout innings for her 16th victory of the season.
The Jeffs are back in action this afternoon against Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. This Friday, Amherst will host Wesleyan at 5 p.m. before traveling to Middletown, CT on Saturday for a doubleheader against the Cardinals.