MIDDLETOWN, Conn. — Junior Rebecca Duncan tossed her first career (Williams) no-hitter Saturday as the Williams College softball team claimed the 2019 Little 3 title with a 3-0 win over Wesleyan University. The Ephs then extended their win streak to 19 games by taking the nightcap of the doubleheader, 7-1, behind a two-hitter from senior Mackenzie Murphy.
Williams improved to 30-4 with the sweep and 11-0 in the NESCAC West. The Ephs claimed the NESCAC West title last week. Williams reached the 30-win mark in a single season for the 7th time in program history and the fifth consecutive season. The Ephs and Wesleyan will attempt to complete their three-games series Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in Middletown.
Duncan was on point from the get-go in the opener, striking out the side in the first and recording two more punchouts in the second. She finished with a career-best 12 strikeouts, reaching double-figure strikeouts in a single game for the seventh time in her career. Wesleyan hurler Brenna Monroe matched Duncan in stinginess for the first 3 2/3 innings — not allowing an Eph hit – but with two outs in the top of the fourth the Ephs bunched three of their five hits in the game together to produce three runs.
Junior Kirstin Mapes got the ball rolling — literally — singling down the third-base line with two outs and nobody on in that fourth. Duncan kept the inning going by singling sharply through the hole. Sophomore Gabi Medvene-Cirigliano provided the game biggest at-bat next. Working the count to 3-2, she fouled off a tough Monroe offering to stay alive before drilling the following pitch over the fence in left-center field for a three-run homer, her third homer of the season and second in as many games.
That was all Duncan needed. The Ephs right-hander allowed only three baserunners the entire game, hitting one batter and walking two. Ironically, all three were the same batter, Wesleyan's Sophia Sciarappa, who reached second only once, in the bottom of the seventh after drawing a walk with one out. A groundout to Jessica Kim at shortstop moved Sciarappa to second before Duncan retired the final batter on a soft liner to second baseman Jennifer Hickey to finish off the no-no.
Five different Ephs had one hit in the win. Medevne-Cirigliano had the only extra-base hit. Duncan improved to 12-2 with her gem.
The nightcap was a different animal as the Ephs scored all seven of their runs over the first three innings and finished with nine hits. They took a 1-0 lead in the first with a little more two-out magic as Murphy line a two-out single to right before Mapes dropped a single down the right-field line, sending Murphy to third. That brought-up Medvene-Cirigliano, who lined an RBI-single to score Murphy for the lead.
In the Wiliams second, Hickey walked and stole second. Dacia Green then drew a walk. Kristina Alvarado moved both runners over with a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Kim then laid down a decent squeeze bunt and Hickey beat the throw home for a 2-0 lead. Duncan then hit the very next pitch over the left-field fence for a three-run homer and a 5-0 Williams lead. The Ephs added two runs in the third when Medvene-Cirigliano led off with a double and Hockey singled and took second on an error as Medvene-Ciriliano took third. Green scored both with a well-placed single through the shortstop hole.
Murphy allowed the Cardinals a run in the second on two hits, including Kendall Carr's RBI-single to right, but struck out the final batter of the frame, the first of 16 consecutive outs she would record. Carr's hit was the final baserunner for the home team. Murphy finished with a flourish, fanning the final Cardinal of the game. She allowed the two hits, walked one and struck out three over her seven innings. She improved to 11-2.
Medvene-Cirigliano was 2 for2 with an RBI and a run scored. Duncan was 2 for 4 with three RBI and a run scored. Green was 1 for 1 with two walks, two RBI and a run scored.