Softball reaches 20-win plateau

Softball reaches 20-win plateau

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team, ranked #21 in the nation in Division III, reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2015 today with a pair of wins over Clark University. The Judges won the opener, 9-0, in five innings, before taking the nightcap, 6-3 in eight innings. With the wins, the Judges improve to 20-1-1 on the season, while the Cougars fall to 9-19.

In the opener, rookie pitcher Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) tossed a one-hit shutout for the second time in her last three starts. Goldman struck out a career-high 11 opponents, while walking four and hitting two batters. The only hit she surrendered was a single up the middle in the fourth inning by Clark's Francesca Cirone. Goldman lowered her UAA-leading earned-run average to 1.44 on the season.

Offensively, the Judges pounded out 13 hits, with eight of the team's nine starters finishing with at least one. Junior 1B PJ Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional) led the way, going 3-4 with three runs scored and one RBI, coming on a solo home run in the top of the first. The blast was Ross's second of the season and the eighth of her career. Goldman also helped her own cause with two hits and two run scored, while rookie centerfielder Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) also had two hits. Senior leftfielder Marissa DeLaurentis (Centereach, N.Y./St. John the Baptist Diocesan) and rookie catcher Brittany Dean (Nanaimo, B.C., Canada / John Barsby Secondary) each had two RBI on the day. It was Dean's first career start behind the plate.

Game two was a back-and-forth affair. Clark scored first on a sacrifice fly in foul territory in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Judges answered in the second, taking the lead on a two-run single by rookie 1B Ashleigh Fultz (Silver Spring, Md./St. John's College High School), who was making her first start since February. Rothenberg added an RBI single in the fourth to make it a 3-1 Brandeis lead.

Clark responded with single runs in the third and fourth inning. In the third, 3B Jessica Martin doubled home a run with the Cougars' only extra-base hit of the day. In the fourth, the hosts took advantage of wildness from Brandeis rookie starter Amidori Anderson (Sparks, Nev./Spanish Springs), drawing four-straight walks to tie the game at 3-3. Anderson got the first out of the frame on a strikeout with bases loaded, then junior Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest) came on to get the final two outs of the inning.

Brandeis had runners in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but could not convert, while Clark got a runner as far as second base in the sixth and seventh but also was unable to push one across, meaning the teams would face extra innings. In the eighth, Fultz was placed on second to start the frame, moved to third on a bunt and then beat the throw home on a Dean infield chopper to give Brandeis the 4-3 lead. An error with sophomore shortstop Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) pushed the lead to 5-3, then a double by Todd allowed Fujita to score all the way from first to make it 6-3.

Todd retired the side in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice bunt and two Ks to close out her second relief win of the season, improving to 10-1 in the process.

The Judges will next be at home against Worcester State on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m.