Sass' Home Run in Seventh Forces Doubleheader Split at Regis

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

WESTON, Mass. - The Regis College Pride looked poised for a sweep of the Newbury Nighthawks on Wednesday night, a sweep that would have moved the Pride into first place in the New England Collegiate Conference standings, but a seventh-inning home run by the Nighthawks leading home run hitter forced a split of the doubleheader.

Game One: Regis 8 - Newbury 3

Pride junior Alexa Nejaime (Sandisfield, Mass.) batted 3-for-4 with two runs scored, helping the Regis College Pride end the Newbury Nighthawks perfect conference record by defeating them 8-3 on Wednesday evening at Regis Field.

Pride sophomore Allie Petillo (West Sayville, N.Y.) finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Sophomore Lisa Lusardi (Enfield, Conn.) also batted 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Freshman Ellery Rasmussen (Kingston, N.H.) finished 1-for-3 with a crucial bases-clearing double in the fifth.

Nighthawks senior Elizabeth Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) finished 2-for-3, both singles. Sophomore Tina Babcock (Ayer, Mass.) batted 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Freshman Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) and senior Naomi Ricciotti (Pheonix, Ariz.) both finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

The Pride got on the board early with an RBI double by junior Amanda Navarro (Stoneham, Mass.), followed by an RBI groundout by Nejaime for a 2-0 lead.

With a 3-0 lead in the fifth, the Pride embarked on a two-out rally, loading the bases with three straight singles.

Rasmussen's bases-clearing, three-RBI, double to center field later played a major role in the victory but led to a 6-0 advantage. Petillo then singled to score Rasmussen for a 7-0 lead.

The Nighthawks rallied to fight back in the sixth, starting with a Ricciotti single that scored sophomore Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.), who doubled earlier in the inning. 

Two batters later, Stefan singled to center, scoring Ricciotti, cutting the deficit to 7-2. Babcock then doubled to the left-center gap, scoring Stefan, getting the Nighthawks within four at 7-3.

The Pride added one in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly and a scoreless seventh gave the Pride the 8-3 win.

Pride freshman Madi McLellan (Fremont, N.H.) pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on nine hits with six strikeouts. McLellan has won four straight games to improve to 7-4.

Stefan's takes the loss, pitching a complete game, allowing eight runs, seven earned on 14 hits. She falls to 6-8 on the season and has her four-game winning streak snapped.

Game Two: Newbury 2 - Regis 1

Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, Nighthawks sophomore Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) hit a two-run home run to left field, giving the Newbury Nighthawks a 2-1 win over the Regis Pride, forcing a split of the Wednesday night doubleheader and keeping the Nighthawks in the top spot in the New England Collegiate Conference standings.

For the Nighthawks, Ricciotti and Vieira both finished 2-for-4. Sophomore Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) was 1-for-4, including a single in the seventh prior to Sass' home run. Sass finished 1-for-3 with the home run, her fourth of the season.

Pride sophomore Brianna Napoleone (Medford, Mass.) batted 3-for-4, all singles. Rasmussen and Petillo both finished 1-for-3.

The Nighthawks seventh began with a popout to second base, putting the Pride two outs away from a sweep. Milauskas stepped in and singled down the right field line to put the game-tying run on base.

Sass followed up with the shot to left field, giving the Nighthawks a 2-1 lead. It's the sixth time this season the Nighthawks have scored in the seventh inning or later to tie the game or take a lead.

For much of the game, it appeared a run scored via an error on a single by Navarro in the third would be the only scoring of the game before the late-inning drama by Sass.

In the fifth, the Nighthawks looked to have squandered their best chance with one out and Sass on third. Ricciotti popped out to second, and a flyout to left by Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) ended the inning with the Nighthawks still trailing 1-0.

The Nighthawks had a chance in the first with three straight, two-out, singles, but that chance fell on a foul out by Stefan.

Milauskas improves to 7-4, finishing with a complete game, allowing one unearned run on seven hits. Milauskas has won four straight and joins two others for the league-lead in wins (McLellan and Becker's Sam Lee).

McLellan entered the game looking for the three-inning save but takes credit for the loss, allowing two runs on three hits. She falls to 7-5.

The split moves the Nighthawks to 13-12 (10-1 NECC), who are winners of eight of their last nine. The Regis Pride now sit at 10-8 (8-2 NECC).

The Nighthawks are back in action tomorrow for a Thursday night doubleheader at Eastern Nazarene College; the final non-conference games of the season. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.