WILLIAMSTOWN, MA— Playing in the friendly confines of Cole Field for the first time this season, the mid-30 degree temperatures did not slow down the Williams College softball team Saturday as Mackenzie Murphy and Rebecca Duncan did not allow an earned run in a 5-1, 12-0 sweep of Little 3 rival Wesleyan.
The Ephs improved to 17-4 overall, 4-1 in the NESCAC West while Wesleyan slipped to 8-11, 0-4. The two teams conclude their three-game set Sunday at 12 p.m. in Williamstown.
Wesleyan scored its lone run of the day in the top of the first inning of the opener when Rielly Wieners singled home Danielle Rinaldi with two outs. The Cardinals would be limited to only four hits and no runs over the next 11 innings.
Williams answered with two runs in its half of the first. Jessica Kim led off with a double to left that one hopped the fence. Lexi Curt singled and Murphy grounded a double over the third-base bag to score Kim. Curt scored the go-ahead run on Margo Beck's groundout to short. The Ephs tacked on a run in the fourth when the first three batters singled. Duncan led off with an infield hit, Brenna Martinez followed with a grounder back up the middle and Riley Salvo snuck a grounder through the left side to score Duncan for a 3-1 lead.
The Ephs would add an unearned run in the fifth and the sixth and ended up outhitting Wesleyan in the contest, 10-4. Murphy improved to 6-0 from the circle, allowing four hits over seven frames and the one unearned run. She did not walk a batter and struck out five. She was also 2 for 3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored. Martinez was 2 for 3 as well, and Kim was 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Olivia Gorman was 2 for 2 for Wesleyan. Southpaw Julie McDonald went the distance, allowing 10 hits and five runs, three earned, over six innings. She did not walk a batter while striking out four.
The nightcap was a different story as the Ephs smacked four home runs and the game ended after five innings due to the eight-run mercy rule. Duncan carried a perfect game into the top of the fifth but Wieners broke that bid up with a single up the middle. Duncan (8-2) settled for a 1-hit shutout while going 3 for 3 at the plate with two home runs and 7 RBI.
The Ephs put up a six-spot in the bottom of the first and never looked back. Kim drew a lead-off walk from Cardinal starter Rinaldi and, after an out, Murphy singled to left. Duncan followed with a frozen rope to left center that cleared the fence for a three-run home run, her first of the season. Beck then reached on catcher's interference and Kirstin Mapes doubled to right field. With two outs, Casey Pelz crushed a shot to left center for another three-run homer that put Williams up 6-0.
The Ephs added a run in the second on Murphy's solo blast to right center field off a change-up. They added five more in the third, all with two outs. First-year Jennifer Hickey started the rally with a slap hit to center. Kim grounded a single to left and Curt lined a single to right that scored Hickey for an 8-0 lead. After a walk to Murphy, Duncan hit a towering drive down the left-field line that cleared the wall for a grand slam home run and a 12-0 Williams lead.
Duncan recorded her shutout by allowing the one hit over five. She did not walk a batter and struck out six. Murphy was 2 for 2 with three runs scored and an RBI. Pelz was 1 for 2 with three RBI and a runs scored. Kim was 1 for 3 with two runs scored. Rinaldi took the loss for Wesleyan.