Jeffs Shut Out Allegheny, Scare No. 9 Plattsburgh
Contact: Matthew Hart
CLERMONT, Fla. – Kelsey Ayers ’15 tallied five hits on the day as the Amherst College softball team split its season-opening doubleheader at the NTC Games on Sunday, defeating Allegheny College, 5-0, before a hard-fought 8-7 setback to No. 9 SUNY Plattsburgh.
Theresa Kelley ’13 starred on the mound in the first contest, striking out 11 Gators over six shutout innings as the All-Region hurler started her senior season in dominant fashion. The Jeffs pounded out nine hits as Ayers, Donna Leet ’15 and Carolyn Miller ’14 each went 2-for-4, with Miller driving in three of the team’s five runs.
Amherst got on the board right away, with Ayers leading off the game with a single before Miller drove her in with the season’s first run on an RBI groundout. The Jeffs made it 2-0 in the second as Karina Kossler ’15 drew a two-out walk and back-to-back singles by Ayers and Kaitlin Silkowitz ’14 set up Leet for a run-scoring infield hit.
With Kelly protecting the slim lead, Amherst made it comfortable with a big fifth as Leet reached on an error, Reilly Horan ’13 drove a single through the left side and Miller delivered a big two-run triple. Kelley helped her own cause with an RBI groundout to cap the scoring. After six strong innings on the bump, the senior ace gave way to Nicolette Miranda ’16, who struck out two in a one-two-three seventh to punctuate her collegiate debut.
Game two saw the Jeffs provide a strong challenge for a Plattsburgh State squad ranked ninth in the latest NFCA national poll. Amherst grabbed a quick 2-0 lead in the first as Leet singled with two outs, the Cardinal right fielder misplayed a Horan drive for a three-base error, and Horan raced home on a wild pitch.
Plattsburgh responded with three runs in the top of the second, but Amherst came right back with three two-out runs in the bottom half. Idalia Friedson ’15 started it with a one-out single, and after Sarah McKay ’16 flew out to center, Kossler’s bunt hit positioned Ayers for an RBI single. With Kossler on third, the sophomore catcher then stole second and Silkowitz rewarded her effort, driving in two with a single as the Jeffs grabbed a 5-3 lead.
Arielle Doering ’14 settled in on the mound and threw a pair of scoreless frames, but Plattsburgh broke through with three in the fifth. Horan drove in Ayers with a sacrifice fly to tie it in the bottom of the frame, but the Cardinals took the lead for good with a pair of runs off of the Jeff bullpen in the sixth. Amherst cut the deficit to 8-7 in the bottom half as Brianna Cook ’16 ripped a leadoff triple and Kossler drove her in with a single, but the Jeffs could manage no more.
Ayers finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, two stolen bases and an RBI in the contest, while Silkowitz was 2-for-4 and Kossler 2-for-3. Doering lasted 4.1 innings, scattering just three hits but walking seven as she surrendered four earned runs (six total). Kelley chipped in an inning of relief work, before Caroline Sealander ’15 and Miranda finished the game as Amherst’s entire staff saw action against the top-10 opponent.
The Jeffs play two more games on Monday, battling SUNY Geneseo at 9 a.m. before an 11 a.m. tilt with Hope College.