AMHERST, MA — The Williams College softball team shook off an opening-game loss to come back and take the next two games from rival Amherst Saturday, winning 5-1 and 3-2 behind strong pitching performances from Emma Harrington and Brooke Bovier, respectively.
The Ephs improved to 15-6 overall and 5-1 in the NESCAC West, tied atop the divisional standings with Middlebury. Amherst fell to 15-6, 4-4 in the division. Williams is back in action Tuesday with a twinbill at home against RPI beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday started with the completion of Friday's rain-halted game which Amherst led 8-2. The Lord Jeffs put that game in the book quickly, 13-2 in six innings. But the Ephs' Harrington, who was charged with the loss in the opener, came back with a fine performance in the second game, going seven solid innings and allowing just one run, albeit unearned.
The Ephs supported Harrington with a quick 5-0 lead, scoring twice in the first and three times in the top of the second. In the top of the first, Kacey Cramer hit a RBI single and advanced all the way to third on the throw. The next batter, Ali Graebner, hit a deep double off the left field fence to drive in Cramer.
The Ephs added two more in the second. With two outs and runners on second and third, Cramer drove in both runners with a single through the right side. She later scored on the next at-bat when Graebner hit a triple to right center.
Harrington, who allowed five hits and four walks while striking out four, took care of the rest. The Ephs' bats were led by Cramer's 3-for-3 performance with three RBI, two runs scored and one walk. Graebner and Alison Michalik both went 2-for-4 while Graebner drove in two runs.
With the series tied at one game each, the Ephs went to first year Bovier in the third and final game of the day. Williams took an early 2-0 lead. Singles by Michalik, Legan and Cramer loaded the bases with two outs in the third for Melissa Zendejas, who came through in the clutch with a two-run single.
The Lord Jeffs crept their way back into the game on the back of Donna Leet, who had RBI-singles in the third and fifth to knot the game, 2-2.
In the top of the seventh, Bovier led off the inning with a double into the left-centerfield gap. Mo Frank then beat out a bunt attempt to send pinch-runner Ashley Wirth to third. Pinch-hitter Priscilla Pino scored the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Nicolette Miranda singled with one out in the seventh but the Jeffs couldn't capitalize as Bovier got Ayers on a foul pop up to third with a pinch-runner on second to end the contest.
Ayers led Amherst offensively with two hits in four at-bats while scoring once. Five other Jeffs recorded a hit to give the home team seven total. Jackie Buechler pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on nine hits with five strikeouts, while only walking one.
Bovier earned the win, improving to 6-2 for Williams, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Graebner, Bovier and Frank all wenr 2 for 3 for the Ephs.