Golden Bears rally from late deficit with five runs in seventh inning
BEVERLY, Mass. (May 5, 2018) – The third-seeded Western New England University softball team used a five-run seventh inning rally to earn an 8-4 victory over top-seeded Endicott College and claim the program's second Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship on Saturday afternoon at Endicott's Softball Complex.
The Golden Bears (24-16) held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before the Gulls (30-6) pulled ahead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Western New England's late comeback secured the team's first CCC title since 2015 and seventh conference championship overall. The Golden Bears will be making their seventh all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament next weekend.
• Seniors Lindsay Williams (Coventry, Conn.) and Jenn Luba (Plymouth, Conn.) and sophomore Mallory Donelan (Mineola, N.Y.) led the Golden Bears offensively. Williams went 3-for-3 with a walk, one RBI and three runs scored, while Donelan drove in two runs and Luba hit a three-run homer. All three players played a key role in the seventh inning rally, as Williams recorded the game-tying RBI single and Donelan drove in the go-ahead run before Luba provided insurance with her three-run shot to left field.
• Sophomore Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) earned the win (10-6) in the circle for the Golden Bears after coming on in relief and allowing just one hit over the final 2.2 innings. Classmate Paige Uliase (Meriden, Conn.) started the contest and gave up two earned runs over 4.1 innings.
• Endicott junior Gina DeMilt (Princeton, N.J.) recorded two hits, while classmate Hayley Arduini (Southington, Conn.) drove in two runs for the Gulls.
Western New England jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, as Kistner hit an RBI double to center field and freshman Cassidy Howe (North Andover, Mass.) added a sacrifice fly to put the Golden Bears ahead early.
After the Gulls tied the contest with the help of two Western New England errors in the fourth, the Golden Bears reclaimed a 3-2 edge in the fifth when Donelan capped a 10-pitch at-bat with an RBI single to left field.
Endicott pulled ahead (5-4) for the first time in the bottom half of the inning, however, as Arduini came up with the bases loaded and lifted a two-run double deep to left field.
Still trailing by a run in the top of the seventh, Western New England put together the game-winning rally with five runs on four hits. Freshman Allie Buzzeo (Stamford, Conn.) got it started with a one-out infield single, and sophomore Sydney Pounds (Milford, Mass.) followed with a bunt single. Williams came up next and tied the contest with an RBI single to right center, and Donelan drove in the go-ahead run before Luba hit a three-run homer to left to give the Golden Bears a four-run cushion.
Kistner sealed the victory with a 1-2-3 seventh inning, retiring the final two batters by strikeout.