Softball Drops Two At Amherst

April 28, 2012

Amherst earned the right to host the NESCAC Softball Championship for the first time in program history by sweeping a doubleheader from Middlebury on Saturday afternoon. The Lord Jeffs earned a 4-0 win in the opener thanks to a timely two-run homer from Idalia Friedson and a stellar pitching performance by Arielle Doering. The second game would decide which team hosted next weekend’s conference tournament, and it was Amherst that scored in five of six innings en route to an 8-1 victory.

Amherst (33-2, 11-1 NESCAC West) set a program record for wins in a season and punched a ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2006. The Jeffs will take on either Bates or Bowdoin in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship next Friday.

Middlebury (19-14, 9-3 NESCAC West) will begin its NESCAC title defense by taking on Tufts University, the top seed out of the East Division. The Panthers defeated the Jumbos twice during last year’s championship run.

Doering pitched a combined eight shutout innings for Amherst, while Kelsey Ayers had two hits in each game and finished 4-7 with a pair of runs scored. Emma Katz had a pair of 1-3 performances as the only Middlebury player with multiple hits on the day.

Saturday’s first game saw a pitchers' duel between Doering and Alexa Lesenskyj get broken up by Friedson’s two-run shot over the fence in left field, giving Amherst a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Theresa Kelley led the Jeffs down the stretch by retiring all five batters she faced in relief of Doering, also ripping a two-run single to center in the sixth. 

Doering (W, 10-1) struck out two, walked three and allowed only four hits in 5.1 innings, with Kelley recording a pair of strikeouts in a perfect relief appearance. Lesenskyj struck out six and gave up only eight hits in the complete-game effort, but she would drop to 7-7 with the loss.

Amherst was in control throughout the second game, beginning with Kaitlin Silkowitz singling, stealing second and scoring on a Reilly Horan base-hit up the middle that gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the first. The Jeffs added a run in the third and made it 3-0 in the fourth, but the Panthers got one back in the fifth when Sarah Boylan doubled and eventually scored on a throwing error.

The Jeffs broke the game open with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, bringing home a pair on a fielding error before Carolyn Miller made it a 6-1 game with a sacrifice fly to center. Amherst added its final two runs in the sixth, as an RBI-groundout by Silkowitz was followed by a run-scoring single to center by Donna Leet.

Kelley struck out six and allowed only four hits in the first 4.1 innings (W, 18-1), with Doering surrendering only one hit in relief. Elizabeth Morris (L, 7-2) was responsible for the first six Amherst runs after giving up six hits and striking out three in four innings, while Lesenskyj tossed the final two frames for Middlebury.