BIDDEFORD, Maine — After rallying from an early two-run deficit for a 9-4 victory in the opener, the University of New England never trailed in the nightcap of its Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) softball doubleheader with Wentworth Institute of Technology and secured another triumph (8-3) on Thursday at Bill Doran Field.
The initial contest was a continuance of a halted game from last Wednesday, when the teams played through nine outs before rain suspended the day’s action.
UNE (12-12, 7-7 CCC) has now captured the last 15 meetings against the Leopards (2-21, 1-13 CCC).
The top of the Nor’easters’ lineup — Avery Alberghini (Middlesex, Vt.), Sydney Helmbrecht (Grand Rapids, Minn.), Caroline Schoenbucher (Barrington, N.H.), and Lauren Gerhard (Merrimack, N.H.) — did its job all afternoon, going a combined 15-for-25 at the dish and factored in all but one of Big Blue’s 17 runs on the afternoon. It was more than enough support for winning pitchers Melissa Jakubowski (Danbury, Conn.) and Bailey Tremblay (Saco, Maine), who each scattered five hits over 5.0 innings of work. Together, they were tagged for just three earned runs.
GAME 1 resumed with things level at 1-1 entering the bottom of the 2nd, and Wentworth jumped ahead (3-1) with a pair in the top of the 3rd. But UNE answered with four in the last half of the frame to move in front for good. A bases-loaded outfield error and sacrifice fly netted three runs, before Kelsey Mansfield (Brookline, N.H.) plated one more with a two-out single.
The Leopards added an unearned run in the 4th to trim in the margin (5-4), only to see the Nor’easters tally two in their next turn.
Helmbrecht capped the scoring in the 5th with a two-RBI single — her second hit — that knocked in Mansfield andAnna Sessa (Tewksbury, Mass.), who reached with their second hits of the match. Schoenbucher also had two hits for UNE, including a 1st-inning triple.
Following Jakubowski and her four strikeouts in the circle, Melissa Sprague (Londonderry, N.H.) and Sophia Burnham (Scarborough, Maine) faced just one extra batter during the 6th and 7th to finish off the result.
Hayley Rutkey (Burnt Hills, N.Y.) took the setback for Wentworth, giving up only three earned in 5.0 innings.Rachel Willcutt (Tilton, N.H.) had a team-high two hits, and was joined by Haley Hohlmaier (Johnston, R.I.) to account for the team’s two RBI.
Infield hits from Alberghini and Schoenbucher in the 1st stanza of GAME 2 ended up as runs, and Helmbrecht provided the home squad with a 3-0 cushion in the 2nd by singling-in Jakubowski.
Rutkey scored on an RBI-single from Vanessa Weymouth to get the Leopards on the board in the 3rd, but UNE extended the spread to 7-1 behind five consecutive singles to begin the 4th. Schoenbucher and Gerhard came through the timely at-bats for one and two RBI, respectively. Hannah Baldyga (Goffstown, N.H.) was among those crossing the plate after starting things off.
Wentworth got two back in the 5th as Rebecca Wehrle (South Amboy, N.J.) put a two-RBI single up the middle that drove in Hohlmaier and Weymouth.
Mansfield registered the final marker for the Nor’easters, driving a lead-off, pinch-hit triple to the fence in right and later covering the remaining 60 feet on a groundout.
Sydnee Bessler (Everett, Mass.) and Katelyn Austin (Bethlehem, N.H.) backed-up Tremblay’s effort much like UNE’s relievers in the opener, getting through the 6th and 7th against one more than the minimum. Helmbrecht and Alberghini posted three hits apiece to pace the 14-hit attack, and Gerhard totaled three runs batted in.
Erica Norquist (Rutland, Mass.) was charged with the loss for the Leopards.