COSTA MESA, CA - One out away from being swept in its final doubleheader of a spring trip to the Left Coast, the Williams softball team instead put a bow on a solid 12-4 trip but rallying for a 7-5, nine-inning victory over Vanguard University and gaining a split.
The Ephs fly home to New England to open conference play on Cole Field against NESCAC West rival Hamilton Friday at 5 p.m.
Tuesday, after dropping a 6-5 decision to the Lions in game one, the Ephs trailed 4-0 entering the top of the seventh of the nightcap, despite knocking out eight hits.
Senior Jessica Kim ignited the rally with a one-out double. Mara Kipnis followed with a single to short that advanced Kim to third. Sophomore Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano followed with a clutch RBI-single to left that scored Kim and broke the ice for the Ephs. But with two outs and runners still on first and third, the biggest hit was left for senior Mackenzie Murphy, who lined a three-run homer down the left field line to tie the game at 4-all.
Each team failed to score in the eighth inning as the international tiebreaker rule was put into effect. In the Ephs ninth, Kim was placed on second per that rule. Kipnis came through with a sacrifice bunt to move Kim to third. Medvene-Cirigliano came through with another clutch hit, singling up the middle to score Kim with the go-ahead run. Kirstin Mapes followed with a single and Murphy walked to load the bases. Senior Casey Pelz then ripped a tough one-hopper toward second that got through, scoring two runs and giving the Ephs a 7-4 advantage.
Junior Rebecca Duncan made that stand up. With a Lion run in and runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the ninth, she recorded a strikeout and induced a pop up to short to end the contest. Duncan threw three innings of relief, allowing four hits and one unearned run while not walking a batter and striking out two. Mapes threw the first six frames, giving up seven hits and four runs, three earned, while walking three and striking out three.
The Ephs had 15 hits in the victory. Kim was 4 for 5 with two doubles. Kipnis was 3 for 4. Medvene-Cirigliano was 2 for 5 with two RBI and a run scored. Mapes was 2 for 5.
It was only Vanguard's second home loss of the season against 20 wins.
In the opener, Williams saw its eight-game win streak come to an end despite taking a 3-0 lead in the top of the first when Mapes hit a single that scored Kim and Murphy, who each singled earlier, the latter scoring on an error on the play. With two outs, Jenny Hickey singled home the third run.
The Lions (28-6) roared back with one in the third off Eph starter Emma Corbett and then five off Cornett and Murphy in the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. The Ephs rallied for two in the sixth innings to make it a one-run game. With two outs, senior Kristina Alvarado singled and scored when Kim lined an RBI-double down the left-field line. Kipnis drew a walk and Murphy followed with an RBI-single back up the middle, but Mapes fouled out to end the threat and the Ephs were sent down in order in the seventh to end the game.
Williams lost despite outhitting Vanguard 14-10 in the contest. Murphy was 3 for 4 with an RBI and run scored. Kim was 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Mapes was 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored. Pelz was 2 for 4. Alvarado was 2 for 3 with a run scored and Hickey was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Corbett took the loss, allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits while walking three batters in three-plus innings. Murphy gave up three runs, all earned, in three innings of relief, walking one and striking out four.