WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University softball team, ranked fifth in their region, closed the regular season with a key split against UMass Dartmouth, ranked seventh regionally. The Corsairs took the opener, 5-3, while the Judges rallied for the split by winning Game Two, 9-3. With the win, the Judges reached 25 wins in a season for only the seventh time in program history.
UMass Dartmouth: 26-11.
HOW IT HAPPENED, GAME ONE (UMD 5, Brandeis 3)
- The opener saw the teams combined for five unearned runs among the eight scored.
- Brandeis opened the scoring in the second inning. With runners on first and second and one away, senior Jamie Pippin (Redmond, Wash./Lake Washington) popped a ball center that dropped between a few fielders. When the Corsairs tried to catch one of the Brandeis runners off base, an errant throw from the shortstop allowed the two runners on base to score and Pippin to advance to third, giving Brandeis a 2-0 lead.
- UMass Dartmouth answered with four runs in the fourth inning, three of which were unearned. After a pair of infield singles, back-to-back miscues from the Judges allowed the first three runs to score and left 1B Haliey Lyons on first.
- A wild pitch and a passed ball got Lyons to third, and catcher Lindsey Chubbuck delivered a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2 in favor of the visitors.
- UMD had a chance to blow things open in the fifth after leading off the frame with a single and a double. Brandeis pitcher Ragini Kannan (Westford, Mass./Westford Academy) allowed a check-swing single back to the circle to bring in the Corsairs' fifth run, but she got a fielder's choice to shortstop, a strikeout and a short pop-up that avoided further danger.
- Corsair pitcher Jill Richards retired 12 Judge hitters in a row between the second and sixth innings before the home team struck again. With two on and two away, sophomore catcher Tristan Boyer (Chesapeake, Va./Grassfield) drove in a run with a single through the right side to make it 5-3. A runner made it to third on a missed pick-off attempt, but Richards got a lineout to end the inning. She struck out the side in the seventh to end the game.
- Richards improved to 11-7 on the season, allowing five hits and three runs (one earned) in a complete-game effort. She struck out 10 and walked one and hit another.
- Richards also helped her own cause by going 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored at the plate.
- UMD designated player Dyonna Rodas went 2-4 with two doubles.
- Kannan saw a personal seven-game winning streak snapped as she falls to 15-5 on the campaign. She went seven innings and allowed seven hits and five runs (two earned), fanning eight and walking one.
- Brandeis's lone extra-base hit came from first-year 1B Maddie Manes (San Clemente, Calif / San Juan Hills) with a double.
HOW IT HAPPENED, GAME TWO (Brandeis 9, UMD 3)
- The Corsairs jumped on top of the second contest when two of their first four hitters reached base, allowing 2B Larissa Piessans to deliver a three-run home run to right-center field. It was her first home run of the season.
- The Judges bounced right back in the bottom of the frame with a three-run bomb of their own off the bat of junior 3B Haley Nash (Delmar, N.Y./Bethlehem Central) to dead centerfield. It was Nash's team-leading seventh of the season and the 19th of her career, putting her alone in fifth place on the Judges' career list.
- Brandeis junior pitcher Alex Cohen (West Palm Beach, Fla./The Benjamin School) dominated UMass Dartmouth after the rocky first inning, allowing just one more base runner the rest of the way.
- Meanwhile, the Judge offense started clicking. The hosts claimed their first lead of the game in the second inning when rookie CF and leadoff hitter Erin Hunt (Wake Forest, N.C. / Franklin Academy) golfed her first collegiate home run to right field.
- Brandeis got some breathing room in the third inning when Cohen doubled, scoring Nash from right field. Boyer followed with an RBI single, while Hunt drew a bases-loaded walk. A wild pitch plated Pippin to give Brandeis an 8-3 lead.
- The Judges scored their final run in the sixth inning when Nash led off with a triple and scored on rookie LF Elle Ehrlich's (Falls Church, Va./Meridian) single to third.
- Cohen improved to 10-6 on the season by allowing four hits and three runs in six innings. She struck out five and did not walk a batter. Senior Chandra Penton (Newton, Mass./Newton South) threw a scoreless seventh inning.
- Nash wielded the big bat in game two, finishing a double short of the cycle. She went 3-4 with three RBI, three runs scored, a triple and a home run. Hunt added two RBI and her home run, going 2-3 with a walk.
- UMD's Kaitlyn Shirshac fell to 14-3 on the campaign, allowing four hits and four runs in two innings of work.
- Piessens home run was the top highlight for the Corsairs in Game Two, as they managed four hits, only one coming after the first inning.
- Brandeis will await the NCAA Division III Softball Selection Show on May 15, while UMD will take part in the Little East Conference tournament next weekend.