Big inning costs softball in 9-4 loss at WashU

Keri Lehtonen '19 (Photo by Alice Shore)
Keri Lehtonen '19 (Photo by Alice Shore)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Brandeis softball team dropped the third game of its four-game UAA series at Washington University today, 9-4. A pair of costly errors led to a seven-run second inning for the hosts in which none of the runs were earned. Brandeis falls to 11-15 overall, 4-8 in the UAA, while Washington U. improves to 21-11, 7-4 UAA.

After both teams stranded runners in the first, Brandeis broke the ice in the top of the second without a hit thanks to the legs of sophomore catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) and rookie 2B Brianna Urena (Somerset, Mass./Somerset-Berkley Regional). Lehtonen walked and stole second, then swiped third as Urena drew her free pass. The two then successfully executed a double-steal, giving Lehtonen three stolen bases in one inning. The Judges bunter Urena to third, but were unable to get her home as Brandeis took a 1-0 lead.

The Bears responded in the bottom of the frame, rapping out seven hits to score seven times against rookie Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest), but two costly errors early in the frame kept the runs from affecting Todd's ERA. The big blow in the inning was a bases-loaded double by senior Hannah Mehrle that saw the lead balloon from 3-1 to 6-1. WashU's Hera Tang, who led off with a single, drove in the final run of the frame.

Brandeis senior Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass./Somerset-Berkley Regional) was able to hold Washington University to two more runs in the final four innings, but the Judges couldn't overcome some bad luck to cut into the lead. Brandeis hit into two double plays in the game. The Judges tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh, as Todd delivered a two-run double, plating rookie RF Taylor Simala (Wellsburg, W. Va./Brooke), who had also doubled, and senior Allison Hecht (Melville, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills East), who had walked, but it was too little, too late.

Todd suffered the loss in the circle with a career-low two innings pitched in a start, falling to 8-6, though all seven of her runs were unearned. Todd also wielded the big bat for Brandeis, going 3-4 with a double and two RBI. Simala scored two of Brandeis's four runs despite having only one official at-bat, her double. She also walked and delivered a sacrifice bunt.

WashU's Anna McKee earned her second win of the series, improving to 13-3 on the year with five strikeouts and four walks on the afternoon. She gave up eight hits and four runs (three earned). The top three hitters in the Bears' lineup – Kenzie James, Taylor Arends and Mehrle – combined to go 7-for-12 with four runs scored and five RBI with two doubles, both by Mehrle, and a stolen base by James.

Brandeis and Washington U. will wrap up their four-game set tomorrow at 12 noon/11 a.m. Central time.