Softball Starts Season Strong with 8-3 Record During Florida Spring Break Trip
Issue   |   Tue, 03/22/2016 - 23:21

The softball team returned from Florida touting a strong 8-3 record. The beginning of the season was a grind for the team, with five double-headers over the spring break week. The team scored 63 runs and amassed an on-base percentage of .389 in 11 games. Leading the strong first-year class were Lorena Ukanwa, who led the team’s pitchers with 28 strikeouts, and Kyra Naftel, who sustained an eight-game multi-hit streak and ended the week as the only batter to manage at least one hit in each game.

The opening weekend set a positive tone for the rest of the trip. Amherst defeated Babson, 7-1, in seven innings on Saturday and New England College, 5-3, later that day. Ukanwa and Gina Pagan ’18 had strong outings for the purple and white, throwing four and five strikeouts, respectively. First-years Julia Turner and Naftel were not intimidated by their first college career start; both made an impact by going 2-for-4 at the plate against Babson. Both games began slowly until Amherst’s scoring exploded late in the game. Against New England College, Naftel and Annie Murphy ’19 led this effort, each contributing a triple and a run.

On Sunday, March 13, Amherst faced Becker College. Brianna Cook ’16 played a large part in the team’s decisive 5-2 victory with two hits and an RBI.

Later that day, Amherst’s offense dominated the University of New England in a 6-3 victory. Naftel went 4-for-4 and scored two runs, while Alena Marovitz ’17 hit a triple, two doubles and had two RBIs. Nicolette Miranda ’16 claimed the win in the circle for the purple and white.

On Tuesday, the successful Amherst team encountered their first adversity of the season. The team defeated Framingham State in the first game, but was shut out by SUNY Geneseo in a 4-0 battle.

Against Framingham, first-year Sara Buck led the team in RBIs, sending three teammates home. This high scoring 15-3 victory also saw Marovitz and Lauren Tuiskula ’17 each notch two RBIs and three runs. Turner added a triple and two RBIs as well.

Pitcher Pagan held SUNY Geneseo to only four runs later in the day, and although Amherst saw hits from Sammy Salustri ’19, Buck and Murphy, they were unable to score.
The purple and white got back to winning ways with two solid victories on Wednesday. The morning match against Agnes Scott was stuck scoreless until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Scotties took the lead by two runs. The Amherst team managed to work its way back and knotted the score in the sixth inning. After adding three more runs in the next inning, due to Naftel’s triple, the purple and white held off Agnes Scott for the rest of the game. Tuiskula’s ten strikeouts played an important role in this defense.

Amherst easily won the afternoon game against Fairleigh Dickinson. Pitching for the purple and white, Ukanwa struck out nine batters en route to the 5-1 victory.

Friday began poorly for the purple and white, who found themselves down by seven runs only two innings into their game against Endicott. Although Amherst, bolstered by two hits each from Marovitz, Salustri, Buck and Naftel, as well as junior Annie Apffel’s two-run double, outhit Endicott 12-11, they fell 5-9.

The purple and white then faced the College of New Jersey, looking to change their momentum. Amherst took advantage of Turner and Cook’s solid 2-for-4 batting and scored the bulk of their runs in the bottom of the third inning. TCNJ, however, did not give up, and tied the game in the seventh, sending the game to extra innings. The game ended with a 7-6 loss for Amherst, who scored only one run in the extra innings to TCNJ’s two.

The last day of the trip was intended to be yet another double-header, but only one of the two scheduled games was played due to bad weather.

The final victory of the week came against St. Scholastica. All of the game’s runs were scored in the sixth inning, leaving the score at 4-1. Again, Cook and Turner matched each other’s batting, each going 2-for-3. Ukanwa pitched, striking out six Scholastica batters.

The team is looking forward to their home opener on March 30 against Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The game will begin at 3:30 p.m.