WILLIAMSTOWN, MA — It was Easter Sunday, but those weren't Easter eggs the Williams College softball team were handing out.
Try a whole bunch of goose eggs instead.
Juniors Rebecca Duncan and Kirstin Mapes tossed back-to-back shutouts in a 2-0, 5-0 sweep of rival Amherst as the Ephs clinched the NESCAC West Division title and extended their win streak to 15 games on Cole Field. Williams is back in action Wednesday for a home doubleheader against Smith College beginning at 4 p.m.
Duncan and Mapes combined to allow the Mammoths (16-10, 3-6) just four hits over 14 innings. Duncan did not allow a hit through the first 5 1/3 innings of the opener. Her teammates gave her the only two runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Mackenzie Murphy led off and drove a Talia Bloxham offering over the fence inn centerfield for a 1-0 lead. Mapes then got hit by a pitch and an error on a force attempt at second allowed her to move to third with one out. After a strikeout, Mapes scored on a wild pitch for a key insurance run.
Mammoth Sammy Salustri broke up Duncan's no-hit bid with one-out in the sixth with a liner that just eluded a diving Jessica Kim at shortstop for a single. But Duncan fanned the next hitter and induced a groundout to third to end the inning. Three more groundouts in succession on the top of the seventh completed Duncan's effort. She allowed the one hit, walked four batters and struck out four to improve to 10-2.
Amherst's Bloxham pitched excellent despite the loss, allowing only four hits while giving up two runs, one earned. She did not walk a batter and struck out two. Kim, Riley Salvo and Mara Kipnis each had one hit for Williams to go with Murphy's home run.
In game two, a four-run fourth inning for Williams broke open a pitcher's duel between Mammoth Lorena Ukanwa and Mapes. The Ephs had taken a 1-0 lead in the second when Mapes was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a groundout by Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano. Senior Casey Pelz then laced an RBI-double down the left-field line that scored Mapes for a 1-0 lead.
In the Williams fouth, Medvene-Cirigliano lined a single to right and Pelz walked wth one out. With two outs, they stood on second and third when Kristina Alvarado lofted a pop fly close to the circle. The Mammoth pitcher and first baseman collided and the ball slipped out of a glove and to the ground as Medvene-Cirigliano scored. After Alvarado stole second, Kim laced a liner into the gap in left-center field for a two-run double and a 4-0 lead. Duncan followed with a single down the left-field line that scored Kim for a five-run advantage.
Amherst's Annie Murphy led off the fifth with a single, but Mapes then retired the final nine batters she faced to close out the victory and improve to 5-0 on the season. She gave up only three hits and no runs while walking only two and striking out five. Ukanwa went the distance for Amherst as well, giving up seven hits and five runs, only one earned, while walking one and striking out one over six innings.
Audrey Hansen and Nicole Trezza had the other Mammoth hits. Seven different Ephs had one hit each. Kim and Pelz had doubles.