Bats Erupt but Jeffs Settle for Split with Hamilton

Contact: Matthew Hart

AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College softball team split a NESCAC West doubleheader with Hamilton College on Saturday, racing to an 11-2 five-inning win in the opener but falling victim to a furious Continental comeback in the nightcap as Hamilton (7-13, 1-5 NESCAC West) snapped a 12-game losing streak against the Jeffs, 13-4.

Caroline Sealander ’15 and Reilly Horan ’13 each blasted a pair of home runs on the day to lead Amherst (18-6, 3-3 NESCAC West), with Sealander going 2-for-2 with five RBI in the opener before Horan tallied a 3-for-3 nightcap, also driving in five. Kaitlin Silkowitz ’14 also had a big day for Amherst, going 6-for-7 as she went 4-for-4 and scored three runs in the finale.

In Game One, Amherst got the bats going in a big way in the bottom of the second, beginning with Horan’s round-tripper to left. Carolyn Miller ’14 followed with a double down the third base line and after a Brianna Cook ’16 sac bunt, pitcher Theresa Kelley ’13 helped out her own cause with an RBI two-bagger to the base of the wall in right. Sealander kept the hit parade going with a moon-shot to left center, knocking Hamilton starter Monique St. Jarre ’15 from the game in the process. Reliever Amy Appel ’13 would fare no better at first, as Alyssa Sherwill ’15 greeted her with a line drive homer to left, her first career long ball.

Amherst kept the onslaught going in the third, with Kelley continuing her hot day at the plate as she plated Horan with an RBI single before Sealander delivered another big blow, lacing a three-run double to the gap in right center. Not to be outdone, Sherwill drove in her teammate with a two-bagger of her own before Silkowitz’s hard grounder got all the way to the wall in left for an RBI triple.

Hamilton got two runs back in the fourth when Sam Miller ’14 led off with a double and Melissa Kaknis ’13 drove her in with a blast to left. Nicolette Miranda ’16 came on to relieve Kelley after the homer and finished off the Continentals in order to complete the mercy-shortened decision. Kelley improved to 11-1, striking out three and walking one over three innings of work. Miller and Horan each went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored while Kelley (2 R, RBI), Sealander and Sherwill (2 R, 2 RBI) were all 2-for-2.

Horan drove in Silkowitz with a single to give Amherst  a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap, but Hamilton responded with an unearned tally in the second before Sealander’s second round-tripper of the day made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second. The Jeffs added two more in the third, but the Hamilton bats came to life in the fifth, with Ellie Kiernan ’15 blasting a three-run bomb to highlight a five-run frame that pulled the guests in front, 6-4.

With Amherst starter Arielle Doering ’14 departing, Kelley returned to the mound and pitched a scoreless sixth but ran into trouble in the seventh as the Continentals teed off with five straight singles and a double to chase the Jeff ace before Sealander came on and surrendered the final tally of a decisive seven-run frame. Trailing 13-4, Horan ripped a three-run shot in the bottom of the seventh, but Hamilton starter Kelly Leonard ’15 was able to stop the bleeding in time to earn a hard-fought win as she struck out four and walked one over seven innings.

Leonard also starred with the bat, going 3-for-4 while Kiernan was 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBI and Olivia Gozdz ’16, Jen Rougeux ’14, Kaknis, St. Jarre and Faraci each tallied two hits for the guests.

Amherst returns to action on Friday, April 12, hosting Williams at 5 p.m. in the opener of a three-game weekend series split between the two campuses.