PROVIDENCE, RI – Mount Ida College went toe to toe with defending Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) softball champions Johnson & Wales University on Thursday night, but the Wildcats eked out a 1-0 win in the opening game before pounding out 20 hits for a 14-2, 5-inning win in the nightcap and a sweep of the doubleheader.
Mount Ida dips to 3-11 in the GNAC and 7-19 overall and will be back home for a weekend home-stand when they host Norwich on Saturday and Albertus Magnus on Sunday. Johnson & Wales improves to 22-7 (10-4 GNAC).
Junior Nicole Handzel (Palmer, Mass.) allowed just the one unearned run in the opening game, tossing six innings and giving up seven hits and three strikeouts. The Mustangs managed five hits, including a double by freshman left fielder Victoria Russo (Revere, Mass.), but couldn't put anything on the board against Jennifer Coronoa (Middle Island, N.Y.), who threw a five hit shutout with no walks and five K's to improve to 13-3 on the year for the Wildcats.
The lone JWU run came across in the bottom of the fifth when an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Brenna DuPerry (Cranston, RI) moved Alex Fantasia (Framingham, Mass.) to third and third baseman Meghan Gavin (Wallinford, Conn.) followed with an RBI single. In game one, more than half of JWU's seven hits came from Gavin and Fantasia as they both went 2-for-3.
JWU scored six runs in the top of the first in game two off of Hayley Microulis (Pawtucket, R.I.), who scored one of the Mustang's two runs in a game in which Emma Morton (Winchester, Mass.) and Kelsey Weston (Hampstead, N.H.) had a pair of hits apiece to account for all of Mount Ida's base-runners.
Second baseman Angelica Reyes (Arleta, Calif.) delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded to spark the Wildcats, who got five of their next seven runs from the long ball. First baseman Emily Gorecki (Bremerton, Wash.) hit her league-leading sixth home run in the second. Left fielder Kaycee Babineau (Medway, Mass.) and centerfielder Diana Amendolara (Newtown, Pa.) each hit two-run bombs in the third.
Eight starters and 10 Wildcats overall had at least one hit, led by Gorecki 3-for-3 performance with four RBIs. She had her 21-game hitting streak snapped in game one.
Handzel came on in relief for the Mustangs and tossed one inning of one-run ball with two strikeouts, inching her closer to breaking her own program record from two years ago.
JWU is back on the diamond Saturday when they travel to Anna Maria for a 12 p.m. doubleheader.