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Mustangs Open GNAC Play with Win over Saints

Mustangs Open GNAC Play with Win over Saints

NEWTON, Mass. – In their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) softball game of the year and their first contest on Mount Ida softball field this season, Mount Ida College defeated visiting Emmanuel College 4-1, and eventually settled for a split of their doubleheader when the Saints took game two by a 5-2 scoreline.

Game 1: Mount Ida 4, Emmanuel 1

The Mustangs took a 3-0 lead after three innings and rode a complete game three-hitter from senior pitcher Nicole Handzel (Palmer, Mass.) to the win in their conference opener.

Senior second baseman Lucianna Medici (Riverside, R.I.) had two hits and stole her team-leading 12th base of the year, and Kaitlyn Muhlenforth (Bohemia, N.Y.) was 3-3 at the plate, part of a 10-hit attack from the Mustang offense.

Mount Ida took the lead in the bottom of the second on an RBI double by Jenni Jackson (Marlborough, Mass.), which scored Kelsey Weston (Hampstead, N.H.), who started the inning with a walk.

The Mustangs threatened with two runners in scoring position and one out, but sophomore Megan Kieselback (Wethersfield, Conn.) struck out the next two batters to keep it a one run game.

Hayley Microulis (Pawtucket, R.I.) and Weston knocked home runs with hits in the third against Kieselback, who put her team on the board with a double of her own in the top of the fourth to score Sarah Hoisl (W. Hartford, Conn.).

Mount Ida added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Kristina Stella (Revere, Mass.) singled to right center with two outs to score pinch runner Alexis Boswell (Amesbury, Mass.).

Handzel (6-3) gave up just the one earned run and struck out two batters, lowering her ERA to 2.75.

Kieselback (2-4) suffered the loss despite striking out seven batters and walking just one.

Game 2: Emmanuel 5, Mount Ida 2

Michele MacDonald (N. Dighton, Mass.) hit an inside the park home run in the fifth inning, but it wasn't enough for the Mustangs to get past Emmanuel and senior pitcher Jill Kilcoyne (Worcester, Mass.), who struck out 12 batters and allowed just two hits and one earned run to improve to 3-4 on the year.

Megan Kieselback had two hits in the game and scored a run, and the Saints took advantage of three Mount Ida miscues while surving four errors of their own.

Kerry Sendrick (Medway, Mass.) and Sydney Rogers (Southwick, Mass.) got the Saints on the board with two unearned runs off of Muhlenforth, the Mount Ida starter who falls to 0-2 on the year after giving up three earned runs in four innings.

A throwing error by Emmanuel allowed Medici to score from third after she had reached on a three base error to start the bottom of the first inning.

Emmanuel added the three decisive runs in the fourth with a two-run double by Hoisl and an RBI single by Rogers to bring her home.

Handzel pitched two scoreless innings in relief for Mount Ida, striking out five Emmanuel batters.

Both teams will continue GNAC play on Sunday afternoon with doubleheaders at 12:00 pm. Mount Ida 7-8 (1-1 GNAC) heads to Connecticut to face the University of Saint Joseph, while Emmanuel (6-10, 3-1 GNAC) will play host to Suffolk University in a Boston showdown.