Springfield, Mass. - March 28, 2013 - Springfield College and Keene State battled to a split in a non-conference softball doubleheader at Potter Field on Thursday afternoon. The Owls rallied for a 4-3 win in 8 innings in the opener before the Pride took the nightcap, 5-3, as the game was called in fifth due to darkness.
The Pride are now 5-9, while the Owls drop to 5-7.
In the first game, Jenna Webb was once again the bright spot in the Springfield battery, going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Jennifer Joseph shouldered the loss despite pitching a one-hitter as she struck out five and walked six while allowing four runs, two of which were earned.
For the Owls, Nicole Dupuis posted two RBI and Jessica Fiorenza went 2-for-3 with a run batted in. Mariah Crisp was credited with the win, striking out 10 while scattering six hits and allowing three runs, one of which was earned.
The Pride wasted little time jumping on the board with a run in the bottom of the first. Christina Leader drew a leadoff walk and moved into to scoring position on a passed ball. Webb then drove in the run for the Pride with a towering double to left field for the game's first run.
Crisp settled down for the Owls, retiring the next eight batters, including five by strikeouts. Webb finally broke through on the first-year hurler, blistering a line-drive single into centerfield with one out in the fourth, only to have Crisp strike out the next two Springfield batters to end the frame.
The Owls answered with a run in the top of the fifth to tie the game. With two outs, Sarah Nichols earned a walk and scampered home from first after a Springfield error in the outfield.
Melissa Nelson opened up the bottom of the sixth by lacing up a double down the left field line, but was stranded as Springfield failed to get the ball out of the infield for three-straight outs.
After the Owls loaded the bases to start the eight to chase Joseph, Dupuis hammered a drive off the center field fence to bring in a pair of runs. A line-drive single up the middle by Fiorenza provided Keene State with their third run of the inning, but Springfield produced a double-play to get out of the inning.
Springfield didnt' go away lightly, as Chelsea Bender connected on a bloop single down the right field line to score Ashley Marino to start the bottom of the eighth. Bender moved into scoring position on a groundout and came around to score on an Owl infield error to make it a one-run game. Despite Kelly Blake reaching on a fielders choice and another Webb single to put the winning run on first, Crisp beared down for her 10th strikeout to shut down Springfield's rally and hand the Pride its fifth one-run loss of the season.
In the second contest, Springfield recorded consecutive one-out singles in the third to put together the first real scoring threat for either team. Blake then responded by crushing a single down the left field line to score Leader.
Keene State answered right back with back-to-back solo home runs by Ragaini and Dupuis to lead off the fourth.
Springfield opened up their half of the frame with two-straight singles by Johanna Burke and Sam Rentz, before a bunt single by Alison Clott loaded the bases. Bender then put the Pride back on top after crushing a grand slam over the center field fence to make it a 5-2 ball game.
The Owls tacked on a run in the fifth on an RBI single up the middle, scoring Stephanie Long from second. A wild pitch moved Christy McGraw and pinch runner Nichols into scoring position, only to have Fiorenza earn a walk to juice the bases. Marino, however, buckled down to punch out Catherine Tewell to seal the win.
Marino earned her second win the season, allowing three earned runs off five hits while striking out three. Ragaini surrendered five earns runs on eight hits in three innings of work. Blake had two hits in the win for Springfield, while Dupuis led the Owl offense with a pair of hits.
This Saturday, Springfield will hit the road to open up New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play when it battles Babson.