WNE climbs into tie for 3rd place in CCC standings
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (April 17, 2019) – Led by complete game pitching performances from juniors Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) and Paige Uliase (Meriden, Conn.), the Western New England University softball team swept Nichols College in a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon at Golden Bear Park.
Western New England 1, Nichols 0
The opener was a pitcher's duel between Kistner and Nichols junior Alexa Ferris (Holyoke, Mass.). Kistner struck out seven batters and allowed four hits over seven shutout innings, while Ferris finished with eight strikeouts and surrendered one unearned run over six innings. Kistner also had the game-winning hit with her RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
Nichols was led offensively by freshman Samantha Kostek (Oxford, Conn.), who accounted for two of the Bison's four hits out of the leadoff spot in the batting order.
Ferris was dominant early, as she retired the first nine Golden Bears in order before sophomore Emily Cooney (Berlin, Conn.) led off the top of the fourth with an infield single.
Nichols had an opportunity to break through in the top of the fifth, as senior Jessica Kuelling (Gales Ferry, Conn.) and junior Taylor McIntosh (West Babylon, N.Y.) both singled, but Kistner got Kostek to ground out to end the threat with runners stranded at the corners.
Western New England was also unable to capitalize in the bottom of the fifth, as the Golden Bears left two runners on base, but the home team pulled ahead in the bottom of the sixth. Junior Sydney Pounds (Milford, Mass.) came up with one out and hit a bloop double to shallow right field, before advancing to third on an errant Nichols throw. Kistner followed with an RBI single up the middle, bringing in the only run of the contest.
Western New England 4, Nichols 2
Uliase turned in Western New England's second straight impressive pitching effort, striking out seven and giving up one earned run on six hits over seven innings.
Her counterpart, Nichols freshman Candice Nelson (Oxford, Mass.) was solid as well, surrendering four runs (all unearned) on five hits over six frames.
Offensively, Pounds and sophomore Emilie Decker (Pattersonville, N.Y.) paced the Golden Bears with two hits each, while Kostek again fueled the Bison with a 2-for-3 effort, one RBI and one run scored.
After four scoreless innings, Western New England struck first in the bottom of the fifth when Decker singled up the middle with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came in to score on a Nichols error.
The Bison tied the contest in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Kuelling, but the Golden Bears quickly regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning. Pounds led off with a single, and Kistner followed with a walk. Freshman Jamie Cookingham (Warner, N.H.) came up next and hit a hard ground ball through the legs of Nichols' third base player, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Sophomore Madison Murabito (Liverpool, N.Y.) recorded an RBI groundout to make it 3-1, and Decker came through with a two-out RBI double to right center later in the frame.
Nichols got one run back in the top of the seventh and brought the potential go-ahead run to the plate, but Uliase induced a game-ending pop out to complete the sweep for the Golden Bears.
Western New England (17-11, 7-5 CCC) is scheduled to host the University of New England for two games on Friday, while Nichols (16-11, 7-5 CCC) returns to action on Saturday at Endicott.