WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — The Williams College softball team launched six home runs Wednesday en route to a 13-2, 5-0 sweep of RPI at Cole Field.
The Ephs improved to 20-4 on the season heading into a three-game conference series with rival Amherst scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Friday's contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Williamstown. The Engineers slipped to 13-7 on the season.
In Wednesday's opener, the Ephs had eight hits — four of them home runs — and combined that with six walks to win 13-2 in six inning in a game stopped because of the eight-run mercy rule. Sophomore Kirstin Mapes went 3 for 3 with two home runs and 5 RBI in the victory, and picked up the win from the circle. Senior tri-captain Margo Beck — who homered in both games — had one of the more interesting stat lines you'll see by going 1 for 1 with three walks, four runs scored and four RBI. Her "walk-off" grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning closed out the contest.
Williams opened up the scoring in the bottom of the second. Rebecca Duncan and Beck drew walks from RPI starter Sarah Harms. After Mapes grounded a single to left to load the bases, senior Brenna Martinez lofted a long fly ball to left that went for a two-run double, scoring Duncan and Beck.
The Engineers had a chance to get right back in the game in the top of the third when Veronica DeStefano and Victoria Greco singled to open the inning and were on second and third with no outs. But Mapes worked her way out of that jam without a run by inducing back-to-back infield pop ups and a strikeout to end the threat.
Williams broke open the game in its half of the third when senior Lexi Curt hit a bomb to right center and hustled into third base with a triple. Mackenzie Murphy followed with a laser to left that hit off the foul pole for a two-run home run, her sixth of the season. After walks to Duncan and Beck, Mapes drilled a shot that hit off the roof of the video stand beyond the center-field fence for a three-run homer and a 7-0 lead.
RPI got on the board in the fifth when Rebecca Kienz led off with a single and DeStefano worked a walk. A force play at second left runners on first and third, but Greco, who reached on the fielder's choice, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Cam Caswell brought both runners home with a booming two-run double to right-center field to make it a 7-2 game.
Williams got those runs back in its half of the fifth when, with one out, Beck worked her third walk of the contest and Mapes followed with a rocket to left center that went for a two-run homer and a 9-2 lead. In the sixth, Cris McElhinney singled an stole second, but was thrown out at home as Dacia Green reached on a fielder's choice. Jennifer Hickey walked, and Duncan reached on an error that loaded the bases for Beck, who launched a shot to right center that cleared the fence for a game-ending grand slam homer.
Mapes got the win, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing five hits and two runs while walking three and striking out five. Duncan finished up with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Harms took the loss, allowing six hits and nine runs while walking five and striking out four.
The nightcap was a pitcher's duel for much of the way between the Ephs' Murphy and Jaime Cleasby of RPI. Martinez again opened the scoring, crushing a frozen rope to center field in the bottom of the second for a solo home run and a 1-0 lead. The Ephs used the long ball again in the fourth when Beck hit a towering drive to left center for a solo blast and a 2-0 advantage.
RPI put a runner on second with less than two outs in each of the first two frames, but could not score. After Murphy retired the Engineers 1-2-3 in the fifth, her teammates broke it open with three runs to take a 5-0 lead. Riley Salvo drew a lead-off walk, and McElhinney lined a shot off the top of the left-field fence for a double. Jessica Kim lined a single to center that scored Salvo. Curt lofted a sacrifice fly to right, and Murphy's groundout scored the final run.
Murphy improved to 8-0 on the season by scattering four hits over a full seven frames, walking just one and striking out three. Cleasby also pitched a complete game, going six innings and allowing eight hits and five runs while walking one and striking out two. DeStefano was 3 for 3 for the Engineers.