Babson Park, Mass. - May 9, 2013 - Jen Joseph tossed an 11-strikeout, complete-game shutout and Breann Joyce blasted a solo home run to power the Springfield College softball team to a 2-0 victory of St. Joseph's in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Softball Championship on Thursday.
With their 11th victory in the last 13 games, the Pride move to 27-18 on the season while the Monks fall to 33-12.
Seven different players registered hits for Springfield, including Joyce's round-tripper, and doubles by senior Kelly Blake and first-year Elizabeth Joseph.
Juniors Connie Grovo and Theresa Hendrix, along with senior Heather Tripp all recorded singles for St. Joseph’s, who did not have a runner advance past second base on the afternoon.
Both Joseph and the Monks’ starter, senior Kayla Vannah were sharp early and made life difficult for both offenses. Joseph allowed just a single to Tripp in the top of the second inning through four frames and after Vannah gave up a pair of singles to first-year Jenna Webb and junior Christina Leader in the first inning she retired nine straight batters into the fourth inning.
The Pride finally got to Vannah with two down in the bottom of the fourth as Joyce hit her seventh home run of the season to left centerfield, senior Chelsea Bender followed with a single, and E. Joseph doubled to plate Bender for a 2-0 lead through four innings.
After having the game interrupted twice due to weather delays, Springfield threatened to break the game open as junior Ally Rivelli singled up the middle and Blake doubled to left to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Junior Rae-Marie Copan came on in relief for St. Joseph’s and was able to get out of the jam by recording a strikeout and inducing a pair of fly ball outs to keep the Monks within two.
Joseph made the two-run advantage stand up, working around the delays that totaled two hours and 35 minutes to strike out the side in the top of the fifth inning before fanning a pair in the top of the sixth and the top of the seventh to close out the victory. The right-hander, who has won seven straight decisions, earned her third shutout of the season and is now 16-7 on the year after tying her career-high of 11 strikeouts.
Vannah took the loss, dropping to 11-7 on the year, allowing two earned runs on seven hits in four-plus innings of work, and striking out three. Copan tossed a pair of hitless innings and recorded two strikeouts in relief.
St. Joseph’s College will be back in action tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm when they face eighth-seeded Lesley University in an elimination game while Springfield will take on Tufts University in a winners’ bracket game.