**Releases courtesy of WPI Athletics**
WORCESTER – Freshman Mary Kuczkowski (Litchfield, NH) gave Emerson a 3-1 lead with two outs in the fifth as the fourth-seeded Lions held off fifth-seeded Springfield for a 3-2 victory in Game 1 of the 2019 NEWMAC Softball Championship Wednesday on WPI's Rooftop Field.
The Lions (20-18) remain on the roof to face top-seeded WPI in the second game of the tournament twinbill while the Pride (22-15) return to Boynton Hill Friday to face the Game 3 loser (# 2 MIT or #3 Babson) at noon.
After freshman Morgan Mitchell (Riverton, UT) tied the game with a two-out RBI walk in the fourth, Kuczkowski sent a two-run single up the middle for the two-run Emerson advantage.
Springfield sophomore Abbi Conley (Plymouth, MA) began the bottom of the first with a double down the left field line. Junior Meghan Sastram (Oxford, CT) quickly followed with a single down the third base line to give Springfield the 1-0 lead. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, junior Yaixsa Vargas (Waterbury, CT) cut the deficit to one with a single up the middle. A grounder to short ended the game.
Sophomore Lindsey Lowe (Porter Ranch, CA) led Emerson with a pair of hits and two runs scored to go with Kuczkowski's pair of RBI. Senior Kallista Leonardos (El Granada, CA) doubled and freshman Lexi Semanchik (Flemington, NJ) stole a base. Sophomore Neely Eddleston (West Wareham, MA) struck out three in the first four innings of the victory while freshman Karagan Knowles(Tucson, AZ) added a pair of strikeouts in the three-inning save.
Junior Allie Wheeler (Agawam, MA) led Springfield with a pair of hits while Conley and sophomore Hannah Salvietti (Cheshire, CT) each doubled. Senior Shelby Allen (Oakland, NJ) struck out seven in the complete-game effort for the Pride.
WORCESTER – Senior Kylie Juarez (Elk Grove, CA) batted 3-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored and junior Mackenzie Phillips (Gill, MA) carried a no-hitter late into the sixth inning while top-seeded WPI defeated fifth-seeded Emerson, 8-0 (6 inn.), in Game 3 of the 2019 NEWMAC Softball Championship Friday on Rooftop Field.
The Engineers (29-8), who were sixth in last week's NCAA New England regional rankings, moves on to face second-seeded, and nationally-ranked, MIT at 4pm on Friday. The Lions (20-19) are now slated to play sixth-seeded Wellesley in the first game of the day at 10am. In all, four games are scheduled to be played Friday on The Roof, weather permitting.
After issuing a four-pitch walk to freshman Lexi Semanchik (Flemington, NJ) with one out in the first inning, Phillips did not allow a baserunner until senior Marisa DeFranco (Falls Church, VA) connected on a two-out single in the top of the sixth.
WPI manufactured the first run of the game in the bottom of the second. Senior Renee LeClaire (Merrimack, NH) led with a double. Junior Cassie Graca (Somerset, MA) and Juarez followed with a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly, respectively.
Two innings later, Juarez keyed a four-run frame with an RBI single and went on to score on a wild pitch. Freshman Hailey McCasland (Wrentham, MA) then doubled in a run followed by a run-producing single by sophomore Marissa Gonzales (Oakley, CA) two batters later.
Junior Leila Camplese (Tewksbury, MA) lifted a sacrifice fly to right and McCasland added another RBI on a fielder's choice as WPI led 7-0 after five. Juarez later ended the game with a two-out single to center.
McCasland went 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of RBI for the home team. Camplese chipped in with a sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly. Gonzales and Graca added sac bunts and Juarez contributed with a sac fly. Graca stole two bases and Juarez swiped one. LeClaire also doubled for WPI. Phillips struck out seven and improved to 16-3 on the year.
The Lions are back in action on Friday when they take on the Wellesley Blue at 10:00am on Friday.