NEWPORT, R.I. - Salve Regina University softball scored solo runs in each game against Endicott College, but one was enough in Game Two as freshman pitcher Kelsey Boarman (Dighton, Mass.) blanked the visiting Gulls, 1-0, to salvage a split for the Seahawks. These were the top two teams in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) standings entering the twinbill at Toppa Field and they remained in the same order, (1) Endicott and (2) Salve Regina, after the split.
The Gulls won the opener, 3-1, behind the seven-hit pitching of senior Nell O'Connor (Harwich, Mass.). O'Connor took a shutout into the seventh inning before CCC Rookie of the Week Lexi Soucie (No. Easton, Mass.) doubled in senior shortstop Marissa Simpson (Brimfield, Mass.) with the first Seahawk run of the day.
Endicott (21-8-1; 13-3 CCC) scored its first run in the second inning off Salve Regina (17-15; 14-4 CCC) starter Nicole Parry (Quincy, Mass.). Gulls catcher Sam DiBella (Danvers, Mass.) led off the second frame with a single to Simpson at short, advanced to second when next batter Rachel Couto (Chelmsford, Mass.) was hit by a pitch. First baseman Kelley Michael (Ipswich, Mass.) sacrificed both runners to second and third. Left fielder Jamie Corda (Higganum, Conn.) hit a high fly to left field that allowed DiBella to tag from third and score.
Corda added her second RBI of the game with her first home run of the season, a solo shot while first-pitch swinging against Parry leading off the fifth inning. It was the second career dinger for the 5'1" sophomore outfielder.
An unearned run in the top of the seventh proved valuable for the Gulls. Michael led off the inning with a single to left field, and then pinch-runner Hannah Graney (Acton, Mass.) moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Corda, and came all the way around to score on a Seahawk throwing error.
Boarman and her pitching counterpart Courtney Blake (East Islip, N.Y.) were locked in a scoreless dual through three innings. Boarman allowed four hits over the first three frames but stranded all baserunners. Her first 1-2-3 frame came in the top of the fourth.
Meanwhile, Blake, who entered the game with a 7-0 record, was perfect through the first three innings retiring the first 10 Seahawks she faced. Freshman designated hitter Nikki Bukovsky (Westport, Conn.) lifted a fly ball that landed safely in short left field for the first hit and baserunner against Blake.
Senior second baseman Jenna Edine (Warwick, R.I.) reached on a fielder's choice grounder to Chrissy Gikas (Danvers, Mass.) at second base. With two outs, Genevieve Benoit (Swampscott, Mass.) and Kara O'Riley (Acton, Mass.) had back-to-back singles and Edine slid across the plate with O'Riley's team-leading 27th RBI of the season.
Gikas led off the next inning with a single but she would be stranded at second, after a sacrifice bunt from Jess Linden (Stratford, Conn.), as the final baserunner of the game. Boarman retired the last nine batters she faced while Blake set down the final seven after O'Riley's fourth-inning RBI single.
None of the four pitchers today allowed a base on balls. For Parry, she improved her strikeout-to-walk ratio to 95-to-eight on the season.
CCC Player of the Week Sara Nelson (Bristol, Conn.) collected two hits in the opener for the Seahawks.
With the split, Salve Regina secured at least second place in the postseason seedings. Endicott still has a pair of games with third-place Curry College on Wednesday to wrap up its conference slate. Both teams have non-league action on Tuesday with the Gulls at Tufts University (3 p.m.) and the Seahawks hosting MIT (4 p.m.).