Softball: Squad battles for another two wins in an action-filled week
Though the softball squad jumped out to two wins at Bowdoin College on April 15 and was cruising at a 17-11 mark, the Judges came down to reality after the vacation, enduring a 2-3 week.
Before falling to No. 9 Tufts last Sunday by a score of 10-5, Brandeis split double headers against Babson College and Clark University, beating the Beavers 7-4 and the Cougars 8-3. However, they dropped close decisions 4-3 and 1-0, respectively, that prevented the Judges from extending their hot streak to their home turf.
In Sunday's contest, the Jumbos jumped out to an early 1-0 first inning advantage and never looked back, building a 5-1 lead which saw them take the game in decisive fashion.
Sophomore catcher Jo Clair was the featured star, hitting three for four with three runs batted in and single-handedly incurring the Judges' untimely demise.
However, Brandeis made an effort to get back into it, scoring three in the bottom of the fifth to pull within three runs.
Yet, it was too little, too late as the Jumbos pulled away. First baseman Marianne Specker '12 proved to be the offensive force in that game, bringing in two runs on a two-run double.
Starting pitcher Caroline Miller '12 took the loss for the Judges on the mound, but registered two hits.
Though they fell in their first game against Clark to a heartbreaking walkoff run in the last inning, the Judges made the most of their second game.
While it was not the only contribution in the second encounter of the afternoon, center fielder Lauren Porcaro '12 fired off a grand-slam in the first inning which set the tone and allowed for Brandeis to pull away for a decisive five-run victory.
In the second game, shortstop Brittany Grimm '12 chipped in with a double to add to Porcaro's grand-slam.
Starting pitcher Melissa Nolan '14 took the win on the hill. While she was ultimately credited with the loss, Miller's one-hit, seven strikeout performance in the first game was superb.
Right fielder Amanda Genovese '15 explained the importance of Brandeis' powerful offense in supporting the pitching and increasing momentum for the team.
"We backed [our pitchers] up offensively by either getting hits, putting the ball in play or walks," she said.
She also explained how the team struggled initially, but as all season, was able to rebound and pick up the crucial victory.
"It started off a little rough, and nobody was communicating, and nobody was hitting, but then we definitely started working together," Genovese said.
Brandeis took the top frame of the doubleheader against the Beavers in decisive fashion.
Trailing by a single run, 3-2, in the top of the seventh, Porcaro hit a three-run homer to put the Judges ahead 5-3. From there, they were able to notch a couple more runs, building a 7-3 lead.
Though Babson would make things interesting, scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh, they were unable to erase the deficit, resulting in a final score of 7-4.
In addition to Porcaro, Miller-who took the win on the mound-hit two home runs, while Grimm, Genovese, and third baseman Anya Kamber '15 each had multiple hits for Brandeis.
The second game proved to be a tighter affair, as Babson freshman pitcher Meghan Hayes-who seemed in control going into the bottom of the seventh-allowed a three-run homer to Porcaro to make a seemingly safe 4-0 lead disappear to 4-3.
However, Babson was able to get some revenge for the first defeat of the day and close out the win. In that game, Nolan took the loss on the hill, allowing four runs, walking two and striking out three.
Having emerged from their four-game road trip at an even mark, the Judges will receive one last test at home before the conclusion of the season next week. Brandeis will host Framingham State University in two straight contests Wednesday before traveling to Worcester State University and University of Massachusetts at Boston for doubleheaders on Thursday and Friday.
There is no doubt that the squad will be aiming for revenge against their next three foes in a vital last week of play.