Golden Bears Drop CCC Tournament Opener to Nichols, 5-1

Western New England was held to two hits in a 5-1 loss to Nichols on Wednesday. (Photo by Chris Marion)
Western New England was held to two hits in a 5-1 loss to Nichols on Wednesday. (Photo by Chris Marion)

WNE will face Gordon in elimination game on Thursday at 4 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (May 1, 2019) – The third-seeded Western New England University softball team opened the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament with a 5-1 loss to sixth-seeded Nichols College on Wednesday afternoon at Golden Bear Park.

Following the loss, Western New England (21-16) will take on No. 7 seed Gordon College in an elimination game on Thursday at 4 p.m. on the campus of the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. Nichols (17-15-1) plays UNE on Thursday at 2 p.m.

Top Performers
Western New England was limited to two hits in the contest, with freshman Dina DiBlasio (Norwalk, Conn.) and junior Sydney Pounds (Milford, Mass.) supplying the offense.

Nichols freshman Samantha Kostek (Oxford, Conn.) went 3-for-4 with a double out of the leadoff spot, while sophomore Colleen Callahan (Billerica, Mass.) and junior Katrina Valeri (Middleton, Mass.) recorded two hits each. Senior Jessica Kuelling (Gales Ferry, Conn.) drove in two runs for the Bison.

Junior pitcher Alexa Ferris (Holyoke, Mass.) was strong in the circle for the visitors, striking out 13 batters and allowing just one earned run on two hits over a complete game performance.

Game Review
Western New England got off to a strong start with a run in the bottom of the first inning. After the first two outs were recorded, junior Aimee Kistner (Taunton, Mass.) worked a walk and freshman Jamie Cookingham (Warner, N.H.) was issued a free pass as well. DiBlasio came up next and singled to left field, bringing in Kistner to give the Golden Bears a 1-0 lead.

The Bison, who were held scoreless over the first two frames, broke through for four runs in the top of the third. With two runners on base and no outs, Callahan singled to right center, plating junior Amanda Alioto (Patchogue, N.Y.) with the game-tying run. Kuelling followed with a two-run double to right center field, and sophomore Cassidy Aiello (Brighton, Mass.) added an RBI groundout later in the frame.

Western New England stranded two runners on base in both the third and fourth innings, before Nichols tacked on another run in the fifth on a two-out, RBI double by junior Cara Mayhew (Brooklyn, Conn.).

The Golden Bears were unable to get anything going offensively over the last three frames, as Ferris limited the home team to just one more hit with two outs in the seventh.