Softball Stays Unbeaten in NECC Following Sweep at Becker

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

LEICESTER, Mass. - A tie-breaking single in the top of the seventh provided the scoring needed for a 4-3 victory in the opening game of the doubleheader, while a 12-run explosion in the second half of the doubleheader lifted the Nighthawks to victory. Newbury now sits atop the New England Collegiate Conference standings at 6-0; the best start to conference play in program history.

Game One: Newbury 4 - Becker 3

With two outs in the seventh, Nighthawks sophomore Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.) singled through the right side, scoring sophomore Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) from third, providing the game-winning run in the Nighthawks 4-3 win over the Becker Hawks on Monday afternoon at Russell Field.

Vieira finished 1-for-4 with the game-leading single. Freshman Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) batted 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Milauskas was 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.

Hawks junior Jennifer Boxell (Marlborough, Mass.) batted 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Senior Ashley Ciepiela (Adams, Mass.) finished 2-for-3 with a double. Sophomore Megan Klemanchuck (Pawtucket, R.I.) finished 1-for-3 with a two-run home run in the first.

With one out in the seventh, Milauskas doubled to right field, putting the leading run on base. Sophomore Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) then grounded out to second, moving Milauskas to third. Vieira stepped in for the single to right for the 4-3 Nighthawks lead.


Trailing 3-2 in the fifth with two outs, Nighthawks senior Naomi Ricciotti (Pheonix, Ariz.) singled to right, allowing Milauskas to score, tying the game at 3-3.
The Hawks had chances in the fifth and sixth to take control of the game, but with two in scoring position in the fifth, a Ciepiela lineout ended the inning.
In the sixth, again with two in scoring position, a groundout to first ended the Becker inning with no runs on the board.
The Nighthawks scored all four of their runs with two outs while batting 3-for-7 in the game with two outs in the inning. 
Nighthawks freshman Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts. Stefan is now 4-1 in her last five starts.
Hawks junior Samantha Lee (Prospect, Conn.) also finished with a complete game, allowing four runs, two earned on six hits. Lee falls to 4-5 on the season.
Game Two: Newbury 12 - Becker 3
The Nighthawks offense matched a season-high in hits, tallying 16 total for the game, while scoring 12 runs for the second time in as many days, leading the Nighthawks to a 12-3 victory over the Becker Hawks on Wednesday afternoon.
Ricciotti batted 3-for-4 including a pair of doubles and a career-high four RBIs. Milauskas also batted 3-for-4, scoring four times to match a program record that has occurred 14 times prior. Sass batted 4-for-5 including a two-run home run in the fifth, her second homer of the season.
Ciepiela, Boxell, and freshman Lauren Niemann (Bay Shore, N.Y.) all finished 1-for-3, the only three hits for the Hawks in the second game of the doubleheader.
Trailing 2-1 after the first, the Nighthawks offense clicked, giving Newbury firm control of the game early. 
With one out and Stefan on second, senior Elizabeth Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) doubled to right field, scoring Stefan to tie the game at 2-2. Following a base hit and a hit by a pitch to load the bases, Sass singled to left, scoring Kia for a 3-2 lead.
Two batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, back-to-back singles by Ricciotti and Gooden scored two more, giving the Nighthawks a 5-2 lead. 
The Nighthawks extended the lead in the fourth thanks to a series of plays that included a groundout, a single, and two errors, putting the Nighthawks ahead 8-3. 
The Nighthawks added two in the fifth on the Sass home run to left. Two more runs in the seventh on a single by Ricciotti made the score 12-3.
Milauskas pitched a complete game for the Nighthawks, allowing two runs on just three hits, striking out four. The victory moves her to 5-4. 
Hawks sophomore Samantha Belenchia (Ansonia, Conn.) dropped to 2-5 following the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits in four innings. 
The Nighthawks improve to 9-11 (6-0 NECC) with the Monday sweep and have won four in a row. The pair of losses drops the Hawks to 6-10 (2-2 NECC).
The Nighthawks continue their season on Tuesday night for their third and final doubleheader in three days. The Nighthawks travel to Lesley, who sits at 5-1 in the NECC, for a pair starting at 6:30 p.m. at St. Peter's Field in Cambridge, Mass.