WORCESTER, Mass. – Top seeded Worcester State University held off #4 Bridgewater State University, 6-5, in the quarterfinal round of the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Softball Tournament on Thursday evening at Rockwood Park.
The host Lancers advance to the winner's bracket final and will take on #2 Framingham State University on Saturday afternoon at 1:30. The visiting Bears will face #3 Westfield State University in an elimination game on Saturday morning at 11. Worcester State is hosting the remainder of the double-elimination tournament on Saturday and Sunday.
Kaiulani Ennis (Swansea, Mass.) homered to lead off the bottom of the first inning to give Worcester the early 1-0 lead.
Bridgewater tied it in the top of the third. Kacie Carvalho (Fairhaven, Mass.) reached on an infield single to lead off the frame and advanced to second on a Samantha Mulcahy (Taunton, Mass.) sacrifice bunt. Meghan Navarro (Taunton, Mass.) followed with a single through the left side to put runners at the corners. Shannon Grindle (Halifax, Mass.) then plated Carvalho with the Bears' first run of the game on a squeeze bunt.
Sydney Despres (Sterling, Mass.) quickly untied it in the home half of the third as she smacked a three-run homer over the left field fence to give the Lancers a 4-1 lead.
Worcester State tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the advantage to 6-1. Samantha Stake (Worcester, Mass.) crossed the plate on an Ennis single to left, and pinch runner Monica Ferrazzani (North Reading, Mass.) also came around to score on a misplay in the outfield.
BSU relief pitcher Kaitlyn Shaw (Lakeville, Mass.) came out of the bullpen in the fifth and tossed a pair of scoreless innings to give the Bears a chance to battle back.
In the top of the sixth, back-to-back singles by Jenny Heller (Taunton, Mass.) and Courtney Gouveia (Taunton, Mass.) followed by a double steal put runners on second and third with nobody out. An RBI groundout from Alexandra Ruprecht (Kingston, Mass.) plated Heller to make it a 6-2 game, but Gouveia was thrown out trying to advance to third.
The Bears rallied in the top of the seventh inning to make things interesting. A Carvalho walk and back-to-back singles from Mulcahy and Navarro loaded the bases with nobody out. Grindle rifled a two-run single to left-center and Rebecca Uschmann (Feeding Hills, Mass.) followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 6-5. A fielder's choice ground out put runners at the corners with one out, but Worcester starting pitcher Dakota Smith-Porter (Montague, Mass.) induced a shallow fly ball to center and then ended the game with a strikeout.
Smith-Porter (10-5) went the distance in the circle allowing five runs on ten hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
Ennis went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI to pace the Lancers' ten-hit attack. Despres was 2-for-3 at the plate with her big three-run homer, while Kaci Panarelli (Shrewsbury, Mass.) also registered two hits with one double for the Blue and Gold.
Carvalho went 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored to highlight the BSU offense. Navarro (2-for-4, run) also logged two hits in the setback, while Grindle (1-for-3) had a game-high three RBI for the Bears.
Natalie Sorrenti (Bridgewater, Mass.) was tagged with the loss in the circle for Bridgewater State. Sorrenti (9-3) tossed the first four innings and gave up six runs (five earned) on seven hits with a strikeout.
Bridgewater State left eight runners on base, while Worcester State stranded four.
Notes: Carvalho extended her hitting streak to nine game and leads the team with a .433 batting average. She's batting .577 (15-26) during the streak.