Ephs' two-out rally in final at-bat saves split against rival Amherst

Ephs' two-out rally in final at-bat saves split against rival Amherst

AMHERST, MA — There are dramatic comebacks. 

And then there are DRAMATIC comebacks. 

Down to its final two strikes of the game and staring the prospect of being swept in a critical NESCAC West Division doubleheader with rival Amherst Saturday the Williams College softball team got off the deck by scoring six times with two outs to stun the Purple & White, 7-3. 

Amherst took the opener of the twinbill, 7-6. 

Williams moved to 25-8 with the split, while Amherst sits at 19-7. The Ephs are 6-2 in the division, a half-game ahead of Amherst, which is 5-2. The two teams meet again Sunday — this time in Williamstown — for a 1 p.m. start.

With two outs and runners on second and third in the top of the seventh of the nightcap, the Ephs trailed 3-1. Senior Erica Li hit a looping liner to left center on a 1-1 pitch that just eluded a diving attempt by Amherst left fielder Nicolette Miranda and fell for a two-run single, with Li advancing to second. 

Eph sophomoe Brenna Martinez follwed by crushing a line drive single to right that scored Li with the go-ahead run. Margo Beck drew a walk, and first year Mackenzie Murphy greeted reliever Gina Pagen with a long three-run home run to left for a 7-3 lead. 

Amherst loaded the bases and brought the tying run to the plate with one out in its half of the seventh, but junior Brooke Bovier wiggled out of the jam by inducing a pop up to second and a groundout out third to end the game. 

Amherst hurler Lorena Ukanw had limited the Ephs to just one hit over the first six innings of the second game. That one hit came with two outs in the bottom of the second when senior Amanda Siedem cracked a long solo home run to center to give Williams a 1-0 lead.

Amherst answered with three runs in its third, the big blow a two-run single by Sammy Salustri, to take a 3-1 lead.

Bovier earned the win, pitching a complete seven innings and giving up four hits and three walks while striking out six. Ukanw took the loss, going 6 2/3 and allowing five hits, six runs, while walking three and striking out seven. 

The opener Saturday was a back-and-forth affair, with Amherst leading 3-0 after two frames and 4-2 before the Ephs rallied for two runs in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead only to see Amherst respond with three of its own in the bottom half to retake the lead a 7-5. 

Trailing 3-0, the Ephs scored twice in the third when, with two outs, Lexi Curt ripped a double and Murphy crushed a two-run homer to left that scored pinch-runner Jill Jenkin and made it 3-2. 

Trailing 4-3 entering the fifth, Williams took the lead for the first time when Curt led off with a single, Murphy doubled and, after an out, Melissa Cendejas reached on a fielder's choice. A wild pitch scored Curt and advanced the other runners. A sacrifice fly from martinez scored Murphy with the go-ahead run. 

In the bottom of the frame Salustri came through with a two-out, three-run hit that was scored a single and gave Amherst a 7-5 lead. 

The Ephs were at it again with two outs in the sixth as Alison Michalik singled and scored on Curt's RBI-double. A wild pitch moved Curt to third but, after Murphy walked, a groundout ended the threat. 

In the Williams seventh, the Ephs put runners on first and second with one out, but Pagan got out of the jam with a pop up to short and a grounder to third.

Amherst had 13 hits in the win, Williams 10. Kyra Naftel was 3 for 3 with two runs scored for Amherst. Annie Murphy was 3 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored. For the Ephs, Curt was 3 for 3 with an RBI and run scored, Murphy was 2 for 3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Martinez was 2 for 2 with an RBI and run scored. 

Murphy took the loss for the Ephs, going the distance (six innings) and allowing 13 hits and seven runs, six earned, while walking one and striking out two.