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Softball Sweeps Lasell In Key GNAC Doubleheader

Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - April 4, 2019
Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - April 4, 2019

NEWTON, Mass.  The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team picked up a much-needed clean sweep of Lasell University (LAS) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader on Taylor Field Tuesday afternoon.

The Blue Jays took a 1-0 squeaker in game one behind a near-perfect game from senior pitcher and captain Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.), scoring a run in the seventh and final inning to earn the victory. In game two, junior pitcher Natalie Amato (Cheshire, Conn.) was once again virtually flawless, while Saint Joseph scored in three different innings to take a 3-1 win for the sweep. USJ pitching was stout from the start, allowing only one run over 14 innings of action.

COACH QUOTE [Jim McKinnon]
"Pitching today was so critical. Alessandra [Milardo] in game one, Natalie [Amato] in game two, Julia [Annecchiarico] in relief, everyone gave us quality innings. Overall our defense was good. I can't say enough about Megan Burke behind the plate either. She and Kacy [O'Connor] have been guiding the pitchers through these games. It really means so much."
 
GAME ONE

Score: Saint Joseph 1, Lasell 0
Records: USJ (7-4, 7-4 GNAC), LAS (8-9, 2-7 GNAC)
Location: Taylor Field | Newton, Mass.

KEY MOMENTS

  • Both starting pitchers established their dominance early, with a combined three hits through four innings in a scoreless four stanzas.
  • Milardo continued her perfect game into the fifth inning, and had two down before sophomore right fielder Matara Tamzarian (Manchester, N.H.) slapped a ball through the left side for the Lasers. Milardo quickly got out of the jam (an error had put another runner on) with a strikeout, one of nine on the game.
  • A scoreless battle went to the seventh, where Saint Joseph finally broke through. The X-Factor came in pinch-hitter and freshman Kailee Snyder (Brookfield, Conn.), who has now had two hits in her first two career at-bats, this time ripping a double down the left field line to lead off the inning. The Blue Jays pinch-ran sophomore Taylor Verboven (Columbia, Conn.) for some extra speed, and a sacrifice bunt followed by a suicide squeeze was just enough to drive in the games only run.
  • Milardo returned to the circle in the bottom of the seventh and retired the side with little resistance.

IN THE CIRCLE

  • USJ – Milardo picked up the win (2-3), throwing her second career one-hit, complete game shutout. She also walked none and whiffed nine, her most since her career-best 10 earlier this season. The one and only hit for Lasell came on a single through the left side, ending Milardo's perfect game bid in the bottom of the fifth.
  • LAS – Freshman pitcher Eryn Sheeley (North Haven, Conn.) was gracious in defeat (4-5), allowing one run on four hits in seven innings. She struck out an impressive 10 batters and walked just two.

GAME TWO

Score: Saint Joseph 3, Lasell 1
Records: USJ (8-4, 8-4 GNAC), LU (8-10, 2-8 GNAC)
Location: Taylor Field | Newton, Mass.

KEY MOMENTS

  • The Blue Jays found their bats in game two, scoring a run in three of the first four innings to take a 3-1 lead. Junior center fielder Ashlee White (Bristol, Conn.) drove in two of those with a pair of singles.
  • Lasell managed to pick up a run in the third on an error, but was unable to get a rally going against Amato or junior pitcher Julia Annecchiarico (Ludlow, Mass.), who pitched the fifth and sixth.
  • Lasell's last gasp came in the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back singles to start the stanza. Blue Jays' skipper Jim McKinnon called on Milardo, who had already pitched in game one and been playing the field in game two, to come in and close it out. Milardo made quick work with the game-winning run at the plate, forcing a popup on a bunt attempt, a flyout, and a strike out to cap the day and record her second career save. 

IN THE CIRCLE

USJ – Amato picked up the win (6-0) with one run on five hits in four innings. The run came off an error, thus extending her consecutive innings streak without an earned run to an astounding 38 (nearly six complete games worth). Annecchiarico was the set up pitcher on the day, throwing two innings in relief and allowing just two hits. Milardo picked up her first save (and the Blue Jays first) of the season.

LAS  Senior Nicolette Genkos (Worcester, Mass.) was dealt the loss (3-5), allowing three runs on 10 hits in a complete game. She also struck out three in the process.

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays have a quick turnaround, with a home non-conference doubleheader against Eastern Nazarene on Wednesday, April 28 at 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. It marks their final home doubleheader of the regular season.

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