This past week, the Amherst softball team continued its perfect month of April, posting a 5-0 record with sweeps of both Smith and Wesleyan.
Last Wednesday, the Mammoths faced off against local rival Smith in a doubleheader. Game One proved to be the closest game that Amherst played in almost a month, with the Mammoths prevailing by the slightest of margins, 2-1. With neither team able to muster a run in the first five innings, the contest quickly turned into a pitchers’ duel between Smith’s Natalie Burchat and Amherst’s duo of Jackie Buechler ’17 and Lorena Ukanwa ’19.
Although Amherst had several chances to plate a run in the first five innings, the Mammoths finally broke through in the sixth. A combination of timely hitting, good baserunning and poor Smith fielding resulted in Lauren Tuiskula ’17 and Andrea Sanders ’20 crossing home plate, giving Amherst the 2-0 lead.
Although Smith managed to pull a run back in the top of the seventh, Ukanwa fanned the next batter and got a groundout to close-out the game.
The second game proved to be a much simpler matter for the Mammoths, who shut out Smith 8-0 in only five innings. Having taken the lead in the bottom of the first on an unearned run scored by Tuiskula, Smith kept the margin at 1-0 until the bottom of the fourth, when Amherst exploded for six runs. Although Amherst only managed a triple and two singles in the frame, good base-running keyed the rally, which pushed the Mammoths’ lead to an unassailable seven runs. After Gina Pagan ’18 tacked on one final run in the bottom of the fifth, the game was called and Amherst emerged 8-0.
Following the two wins, Amherst swept Wesleyan in a three-game series, with a final score of 6-1 in the first game, 1-0 in the second and 10-1 in the third. With the three wins, Amherst remained undefeated in NESCAC play.
The game first game began slowly, with each team remaining scoreless until Amherst took a 3-0 lead in the third inning, after Julia Turner ’19 ripped a bases-loaded triple. Amherst extended its lead to 6-0 in the fifth inning thanks to hits from Sammy Salustri ’19 and Kyra Naftel ’19. Pagan earned the win, pitching five complete innings and allowing only three hits. Pagan now leads all NESCAC pitchers in strikeouts, with a total of 101 so far.
In game two, Salustri hit an RBI double to score the only run of the game, securing the win for Amherst. Buechler had another solid showing, allowing just one hit, striking out five batters and garnering NESCAC Pitcher of the Week honors for her strong showings.
In game three, Amherst took an early lead, when Tuiskula advanced to second off a bunt and a fielding error. Teammate Salustri got a hit, bringing Tuiskula home. Wesleyan responded with a homerun in the second inning, evening the score at 1-1. In the bottom of the second inning, Amherst regained the lead, scoring three runs on fours hits and a Wesleyan error. In the bottom of the fourth, Amherst scored six more runs, to extend its lead even further.
Amherst returns to action on Wednesday, April 19, with a double header against Keene State College, which will take place at home.