Lasers sweep Gators in teams' GNAC openers

CHESTNUT HILL, MA -- Lasell swept Pine Manor on Wednesday, edging the Gators 4-3 in Game 1 and coasting to a 10-5 win in the night cap in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference openers for both clubs.  


Jess Kennedy (Lakeville, MA/Apponequet), who went 3-for-5 with two runs and three driven in on the day, led off the Gators half of the first with a double to the gap in right-center, advancing to third on a Michelle Campbell (Baltimore, MD/Seton Keough) groundout. Courtney Wallace (Steep Falls, ME/Bonny Eagle) then wrapped a double inside the left field line that plated Kennedy, getting the Gators on the board with a 1-0 lead.


In the top of the second, freshman hurler Tia Nelson (Rockport, MA/Rockport) struck out the side in order for the first time in her college career. An inning later, the Lasers caught up to Nelson for two runs on two hits and two Gators errors. Back-to-back singles from Rachelle Haas (Middleton, MA/Masconomet) and Talia DeChiara (Kingston, MA/Silver Lake) each drove in one, with Nelson earning her second strikeout of the inning, fanning clean-up batter Ashley Laramie (Lynn, MA/Classical) with DeChiara on third to escape further damage. 


With the bases loaded in the top of the sixth, Nelson wasn’t so fortunate. After inducing a fielders choice groundout for a second out, a Kerrie Starkey (Keene, NH/Keene) single to left scored Tricia Culver (Northampton, MA/Northampton) and Nikki Giatis (Billerica, MA/Memorial), giving the Lasers a 4-1 cushion.


The Pine Manor offense, shutout in its final two games in Florida, came to Nelson’s aid immediately. Freshman Flavia Vicente (Roxbury, MA/Jeremiah Burke) blooped a single into center, bringing up Kennedy, who launched her first Pine Manor homer (left) onto the rock pile beyond the right field fence. Michelle Myers (Freeport, NY/Freeport) followed with a double to right, and Campbell flew out to deep center, which looked like it would advance Myers to third with Wallace coming to the plate.


Myers, however, was called out for leaving second base early, and Wallace tapped out to first, as what was a furious Gators rally ended abruptly, trialing 4-3. An inning later, Kaylyn Delgado (Worcester, MA/Bartlett) laced a single to center, but it was all the Gators could muster in the 4-3 loss.


Kennedy went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two driven in for Pine Manor, and Starkey went 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the Lasers. Kirsten Mammola (North Reading, MA/Bishop Fenway) picked up the win, allowing six hits and three earned runs, striking out four. Nelson took the loss, surrendering eight hits for four runs, all earned, striking out a career-high nine.


Haas led off Game 2 with a double, coming around to score from second on a Delgado error on a DeChiara bunt to quickly give the Lasers a 1-0 lead. After a giving up a walk and a passed ball, Nelson toughened up. Getting out of the first jam of her second start of the day, she induced consecutive weak pop ups to second and a groundout to strand runners at second and third, limiting the Lasers to one run


Lasell freshman Alison Saluti (Braintree, MA/Braintree) worked herself into and out of an equally ominous jam in the bottom of the first. She issued a leadoff walk to Kennedy, a single to Vicente and a bloop single to Michele Campbell, on which Kennedy made the dreaded first out a home plate after being beaten to the dish by Michelle Torres’(Waltham, MA/Waltham) throw. Wallace then lined out to deep center, but Vicente elected not to tag from third. Nelson then popped to right, and Saluti managed a scoreless first in spite of two hits, a walk and a deep line drive.


Both freshmen hurlers fanned a pair in the second, as the Lasers held a 1-0 lead going into the third. DeChiara scored from second on a first-to-third Delgado throwing error as Lasell went up 2-0 in the third.


For the second game in a row, Pine Manor mounted what looked like it would be another quick rally, but again ran its way into and out of such an attack. Myers grounded a triple to the corner in right coming around to score on Kennedy’s second double of the day. Vicente’s sac bunt advanced Kennedy to third, but she was thrown out for at home for the second time in three innings on a Campbell groundout.


Lasell responded with a four-spot in the fourth, with the big blow being a two-run single from Starkey that plated Culver and Silvia, providing four runs of insurance for Saluti, who soon needed it.  Lead-off walks to Wallace and Nelson cost her, as both came around to score via fielder’s choice and passed ball, respectively. Saluti escaped further damage by striking out Vicente with the bases loaded to preserve a 6-3 lead after four.


The Lasers got two back in the fifth, when, after a Laramie double to right, Culver homered to center, putting the Lasers back ahead by five. The visitors added another pair in the sixth to double up the Gators, 10-5.


Kelly Barden (Quincy, MA/North) went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Haas went 3-for-5 with three runs scored. Saluti scattered 10 hits over seven innings, allowing five earned, to pick up the win.


For Pine Manor, Delgado and Vicente each singled twice in four at-bats.


Pine Manor (0-11, 0-2 GNAC) plays host to St. Joseph (CT) and first-place Rivier for weekend double headers this Saturday and Sunday, both starting at noon.  Lasell (5-7, 2-0 GNAC) travels to Brandeis for a double dip tomorrow beginning at 3:30 p.m. 

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