Springfield, Mass. - April 19, 2017 - Led by a career-best five RBI from freshman outfielder Allie Wheeler (Agawam, Mass.), the Springfield College softball team defeated Westfield State, 14-8, in non-conference play on Wednesday afternoon at Potter Field.
The originally-scheduled second leg of the doubleheader was cancelled due to inclement weather.
With the win, the Pride, which was receiving votes in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) National Rankings, improves to 25-6 overall, while the Owls fall to 11-16 on the year.
Junior pitcher Talia Loda (East Haven, Conn.) took the circle to start the game and pitched 2.2 innings, while Nicole Cring (Cooperstown, N.Y.) came on to pitch the final 4.1 frames, picking up her fifth win of the season. For Westfield State, Emily Woodworth (Marlborough, Mass.) took the loss, her fifth of the year.
Wheeler went 2-for-2 on the day with five RBI, while Kayla Padroff (Southington, Conn.) went 2-for-4 with a career-best four RBI on the afternoon. Freshman infielder Meghan Sastram (Oxford, Conn.) recorded a team-best three hits in three at bats while also driving in a run in the win.
The Pride got to work early as it picked up five runs in the bottom of the first inning to start the game with a 5-0 lead. After Loda drew a walk and Carianna Gasdia (Wakefield, Mass.) got hit by a pitch, Kirsten Drobiak (Griswold, Conn.) singled up the middle to load the bases. From there, Wheeler drove in a run after Loda tagged up on a line out to right, before Gasdia scored on an error in right field. Next up, Sastram singled up the middle to score Drobiak, before Padroff drove in a pair on a single to center.
The Owls responded with two runs in the top of the second as Erika Gouin (Hampden, Mass.) drove a ball over the right-center-field fence to cut Westfield State's deficit to three, but the Pride answered with three of its own in the bottom half of the frame when Wheeler picked up her fifth home run of the year, a three-run shot over the fence in left.
Trailing 8-2, Westfield State rallied for three more runs in the top of the third to cut its deficit to three, but Springfield College pushed its lead back to five on RBI singles from Wheeler and Alexyss Conley (Bloomingburg, N.Y.) in the bottom of the fourth, making it a 10-5 game.
Westfield State's Maddie Atkocaitis (Westfield, Mass.) singled to right to plate Liz Kelly (Quincy, Mass.) in the top of the fifth, before Caitlin Hughes (Hanson, Mass.) flew out to right, allowing Julia Sullivan (West Barnstable, Mass.) to score from third, making it 10-7, Pride.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Padroff roped a two-run single to center, scoring Sam Cox (Longmeadow, Mass.) and Jen Slane (Tolland, Conn.), before Mackenzie Navarro (Taunton, Mass.) came around on an error in centert to make it 13-7. Next up, Rachel Ball (Coventry, R.I.) dropped a sacrifice bunt to score Padroff, pushing the Pride's lead to seven.
Atkocaitis notched her team-best sixth home run in the top of the seventh to cut the Owls' deficit to eight, but Cring got the final three outs to seal the win for Springfield College.
Up next, the Pride will return to Potter Field on Friday, April 21 when it hosts Wellesley at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader.