BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Fourth-seeded Bridgewater State University defeated #5 Salem State University, 9-1 in five innings, in the opening round of the 2018 Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Softball Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Alumni Park.
With the win, Bridgewater State advances to the four-team double elimination portion of the tournament. The Bears (18-17) will travel to Worcester State University on Thursday evening to take on the top-seeded Lancers at six.
Salem State ends the 2018 season with an overall record of 13-21.
Junior DP Rebecca Uschmann (Feeding Hills, Mass.) belted a three-run homer to stake the Bears to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore centerfielder Meghan Navarro (Taunton, Mass.) worked a one-out walk to get the rally started and advanced to third when sophomore first baseman Shannon Grindle (Halifax, Mass.) rifled a double to the alley in left-center field. Uschmann then belted a 1-1 offering off the top of the scoreboard in left to put Bridgewater on top.
The Vikings got on the board with an RBI double off the bat of junior right fielder Chloe Manousos (Lowell, Mass.) in the top of the fourth.
The Bears quickly answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the fourth to make it a 5-1 game. Navarro singled in a run in the frame.
Bridgewater then pushed across four runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the finishing touches on the 9-1 victory. The Bears took advantage of two errors in the inning. Freshman right fielder Alexandra Ruprecht (Kingston, Mass.) drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and junior catcher Tabitha Domeij (Westborough, Mass.) added an RBI ground out. Junior left fielder Kacie Carvalho (Fairhaven, Mass.), who reached on an infield single, scored the game-ending run following a muffed throw at first base.
Sophomore right-hander Natalie Sorrenti (Bridgewater, Mass.) went the distance in the circle for the Bears to pick up her team-leading ninth win of the season. Sorrenti (9-2) allowed a run on four hits. She did not walk a batter and fanned three.
Uschmann paced BSU's ten-hit attack as she went 2-for-2 with the three-run homer, a single and a walk. The home run marked the first of her career. Carvalho (2-for-3, run) also recorded multiple hits for the Bears.
Navarro (1-for-3, BB), Grindle (1-for-2, BB) and Domeij (1-for-2, BB) all reached safely twice. Grindle has now walked 27 times this season. It marks the most walks in a season since Penny King tied the school record with 31 free passes in 2012.
Senior righty Meghan Black (Winchendon, Mass.) suffered the loss in the circle for Salem State. Black was tagged for five runs (four earned) on six hits and four walks with a pair of strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of work. Senior pitcher Ileish Burney (Bristol, Conn.) gave up four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief. The Vikings' defense was charged with three errors in the contest which led to four unearned runs.