WESTON, Mass. – Regis College's Samantha Bliss (Framingham, Mass.) hit the go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning to help lead the Pride defeat Lesley University, 5-4, in game two of a New England Collegiate Conference doubleheader on Friday night in Weston, Mass. Lesley (5-11, 3-1 NECC) took game one from the Pride (6-11, 3-3 NECC) by a score of 5-2.
The Pride's win in the nightcap snaps Lesley's 42 game regular season winning streak in New England Collegiate Conference play. The Lynx last loss in the regular season came back on April 27, 2010 in a 7-2 setback to Elms College.
Lesley struck first in the opening inning as Allison Fountain (Cheshire, Conn.) singled to right field, scoring Emily Mangiaratti (Amherst, Mass.), who had singled to lead off the game. The Lynx added another run in the top of the third, taking advantage of a Pride error that plated Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.) and gave Lesley an early 2-0 advantage. Fountain picked up her second RBI of the game with a squeeze bunt that scored Mangiaratti and stretched the Lesley lead to 3-0 in the fifth inning.
Regis began to fight back in the bottom of the sixth as Jill Bruning (Medford, Mass.) walked and Samantha Bliss followed with a single to right that put runners on first and second with one out. Pride catcher Shannon Bradish (Lawrence, Mass.) knocked in both runners with a two-run double to right field that made it a 3-2 game. Bradish advanced to third on a groundout, bringing up NECC Rookie of the Week Kirbie Garvey (Littleton, Mass.) with a runner on third and two outs. Garvey got a pitch she liked and hammered the ball back to the mound, but Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.) snared the line drive that was destined for a base hit and ended the threat.
Lesley added two more runs in the top of the seventh on an RBI double by Angela Mukai (Amherst, N.H.), while Jodee Doka (Sacramento, Calif.) scored on a wild pitch. The Pride's Shannon Simonelli (Providence, R.I.) singled and stole second in the bottom of the seventh, but Mercurio retired the last two batters she faced to hang on for the 5-2 win.
Simonelli and Bliss each went 2-for-3 on the day to pace the Pride offense. Shannon Bradish and Haley Fountain (Warren, Mass.) added the other hits for Regis. Fountain suffered the setback, throwing 7.0 innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts.
The Lesley 1-through-3 hitters did a majority of the damage in the opening game as Mangiaratti, Molly Sarson (Sanford, Maine), and Allison Fountain combined to go 7-for-11 with three RBI and four runs scored. Nicole Mercurio improved to 3-4 with the win, tossing seven innings and allowing two earned runs while scattering six hits.
In game two, Katie Cuozzo (Lynn, Mass.) worked out of a jam in the opening inning, stranding a pair of Lynx base-runners in scoring position to preserve the 0-0 tie. Cuozzo was rewarded in the bottom of the first as Kirbie Garvey hit a towering shot to centerfield that cleared the fence and put the Pride on top 1-0 with her first career homerun. Garvey struck again in the bottom of the second, this time with a two-run double that scored Samantha Bliss and Michaela NeJaime (Sandisfield, Mass.) and gave Regis a 3-0 lead.
Lesley finally got on the board in the top of the fourth as Merucrio led off the inning with a double to centerfield and later scored on an RBI double from Sydney Thayer (Reading, Mass.) that rattled off the fence in left and made it a 3-1 game. The Lynx made it a one run game as back-to-back errors by the Pride allowed the first two batters to reach base in top of the fifth. Allison Fountain reached on the third-straight error by the Pride as a throw got away, which allowed Mangiaratti to score and make it a 3-2 game.
With the bases loaded, the Pride got an out at the plate to preserve the one run advantage, but Jodee Doka tied the game with an RBI groundout that plated Fountain. On the play, Angela Mukai found herself in a run down, and on her way back to third, obstruction was called on the Pride defense and the freshman was awarded home, putting the Lynx on top 4-3.
The Pride had a runner on second in the bottom of the fifth, but that is as far as she would get as Jordan Thomas (Fitchburg, Mass.) forced Haley Fountain to groundout and end the inning. Fountain responded by retiring the Lynx in order in the top of the sixth and keeping the Pride within striking distance.
Jill Bruning reached base to lead off the inning on an error by the Lynx and pinch-runner Najheen Anglin (Springfield, Mass.) stole second base on the next pitch. Katie Cuozzo hit a tapper back to the mound that Thomas could not handle as Cuozzo reached and put runners on the corners with no outs. Emily Pickett (Wrentham, Mass.) pinch hit for Raegan Heck (Phillipston, Mass.) and grounded out to second base, advancing Cuozzo and putting runners on second and third with one out. Thomas struck out NeJaime for the second out of the inning, but Samantha Bliss followed with a single to right field that scored two runs and gave the Pride a 5-4 lead headed into the top of the seventh.
Haley Fountain got two quick outs to open the inning, but the freshman walked Angela Mukai and Nicole Mercurio followed with an infield single, putting two runners on with two outs. Fountain responded by striking out Jodee Doka and preserving the thrilling 5-4 win.
Kirbie Garvey went 3-for-3 with three RBI in the nightcap to lead Regis, missing out on the cycle by only a triple. Samantha Bliss went 2-for-3 with a run scored and the two huge RBI's. Haley Fountain picked up the win in relief, allowing only one hit over the final three innings. Katie Cuozzo earned a no-decision, tossing four innings and allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits.
Nicole Mercurio and Sydney Thayer each had two-hit days for Lesley in game two. Allison Fountain and Angela Mukai added the other hits for the Lynx. Jordan Thomas falls to 1-4 on the year, giving up five runs (three earned) on eight hits in six innings of work.
The Pride return to action tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Bay Path College for a New England Collegiate Conference doubleheader against the Wildcats starting at 1:00 p.m. Lesley will try and rebound tomorrow afternoon as well, hosting Newbury in a conference twinbill scheduled for 12:00 p.m.