NEWPORT, R.I. - After a pitchers' duel through seven innings erupted with 11 runs scored in extra innings, Salve Regina University softball had a 7-6 victory and its first win over Brandeis University since 1999. The Judges scored a 9-2 decision in the nightcap to salvage a split in the non-league doubleheader at Toppa Field.
Brandeis (10-12) improved its record to 12-4 in the all-time series with Salve Regina (13-13). Starter Kelsey Boarman (No. Dighton, Mass.) was the winner in game one, going the full nine innings for her sixth victory, and took the loss in game two as the starter to fall to 6-7 on the season. Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn.) remained unbeaten in four starts on the season (3-0), allowing just two runs in five innings for the victory in game two.
Both game one starters rolled through the lineups in the first four innings. Boarman gave up a first-inning single after the leadoff batter reached on an error, but then retired the next 13 Judges she faced into the fifth inning.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, the bottom two in the Judges' batting order - Madison Hunter (Parker, Colo.) and Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif.) - extended the inning with consecutive singles. Left fielder Leah Shapiro (Beverly Hills, Calif.) drove in the game's first run with her single to shortstop.
Meanwhile, Brandeis starter Samantha Wroblewski (Delray Beach, Fla.) retired the first 13 Seahawks she faced before issuing a full-count walk to centerfielder Lexi Soucie (No. Easton, Mass.) with one out in the bottom of the fifth. One out later, Lauren Fountain (Cheshire, Conn.) singled to right center to put Soucie on third. Skye Hart (Hope Valley, R.I.) followed with a game-tying single to right center.
Hunter, Gagnon, and Shapiro had successive singles to open the seventh inning against Boarman. The Seahawk righty induced a bouncer back to her circle and forced Hunter at home to catcher Genevieve Benoit (Swampscott, Mass.). Infield still in behind her, Boarman got the next two Judges to ground to shortstop Nikki Bukovsky (Westport, Conn.) and she first went to home for out number two and next went to first for out number three.
In the first extra frame, Amanda Shore (San Jose, Calif.) laced a two-run, ground rule double to right field and later scored on a sacrifice fly. Trailing 4-1, Bukovsky had a one-out RBI single off Wroblewski's glove to score pinch-runner Taylor Parry (Quincy, Mass.) before Benoit tied the game with a two-out, two-run single just out of reach of Gagnon at second base.
Onto the ninth, Brandeis scored two runs without a hit. Trailing 6-4, Soucie scored from second on an error by center field in the bottom of the ninth, before Hart doubled to tie the game (her second game-tying RBI of the contest) and moved Fountain to third with the potential game-winning run. Wroblewski got a bouncer back to the circle to freeze Fountain at third and record the second out of the inning, but Bukovsky singled through the right side and Salve Regina had the walk-off victory.
A three-run, first-inning homer to right center for third baseman Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H.) kick started a 9-2 victory for the visitors in the nightcap. Sullivan added a two-run shot to right field in the fourth inning, off reliever Kara O'Riley (Acton, Mass.), and Shore followed with her second homer of the season, a two-run drive to left field, and the Judges had an eight-run lead.
Fountain's solo homer leading off the bottom of the fifth closed the gap to seven runs and extended the game beyond any mercy rule.
Shortstop Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash.) collected four hits in the nightcap for Brandeis which plays at Lasell on Thursday. Salve Regina hosts Rhode Island College on Thursday at Toppa before finishing its regular season on the road with three Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) doubleheaders - at Western New England (4/18), at Curry (4/19), and at Endicott (4/21).