WALTHAM, Mass. – In a showdown between two of the top eight teams in New England, third-ranked Babson defeated eighth-ranked Brandeis, 6-2, on Marcus Field today. The Beavers improved to 27-10 with the win, while the Judges fell to 20-12.
Babson was paced by junior pitcher Kathleen Conway (Simsbury, Conn./Simsbury), who went the distance and improved to 16-4 on the season. She gave up five hits and two earned runs, striking out 13 without allowing a walk.
Brandeis junior Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chafee) suffered the loss to fall to 8-3 on the campaign. She allowed four hits and four earned run in four innings of work. Nolan fanned five, but also walked four Babson batters. Senior Casey Ducinski (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) tossed the final three innings for the Judges, giving up two runs on four hits.
Brandeis got on the board first in the bottom of the second. With two out and the bases empty, rookie SS Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H./Dover) took a 2-2 offering from Conway and lofted it over the left-field fence. It was her second home run of the season, and just the second allowed by Conway in 2013.
The Beavers answered in the top of the third. After Nolan retired the first two hitters, senior 2B Jackie Enos (Taunton, Mass./Coyle and Cassidy) dropped a ball into left field. That brought up senior SS Catie Funk (Scarborough, Maine/Scarborough), who deposited a 1-2 pitch from Nolan over the fence in right-center to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish. It was Funk's seventh round-tripper of the season and the 221st hit of her career, moving her within two of the Beavers' all-time hit mark.
Babson doubled their run total in the top of the fourth, when sophomore CF Lindsey Schmid (New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan) drew a leadoff walk, was bunted to second and scored on a single by rookie DP Emily Morris (Wolcott, Conn./Wolcott). Conway followed with a single to right, with a bobble in the outfield allowing both runners to move into scoring position. A wild pitch plated Conway, and Nolan walked two Beaver batters to load the bases before getting Funk to fly to center.
Brandeis got one run back in the fifth when rookie 1B Jordan Buscetto (Old Lyme, Conn./Old Lyme) doubled with one out and scored after a hit batter, a bunt and a Ducinski RBI single to left. Ducinski moved into scoring position on the throw, but Conway escaped on the next pitch, getting a fly ball to center.
The Beavers tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh on a two-run double by Schmid, plating Enos, who beat out an infield single to short, and Funk, who walked.
The game featured four multiple hitters, three from Babson and one from Brandeis. Enos reached base in all four plate appearances, going 2-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Schmid was 2-3 with a double and two RBI. Conway helped her own cause by going 2-3. For the Judges, sophomore CF Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) went 2-3 with a triple. She also stole a base, her 45th of the season, tops in Division III.
While the Beavers wwere wrapping up their non-conference schedule in Waltham, the rest of the NEWMAC officially finished up the regular season, which means the matchups for this weekend's opening day of the conference tourney are set. Babson will be seeded third and will face sixth-seeded Coast Guard at noon on Saturday at Wheaton College, with the winner playing the host Lyons at approximately 2 p.m. later that day. All teams will then continue the six-team, double-elimination tournament at top-seeded Springfield on May 4-5.
NOTE: Portions of this story taken from a Brandeis University press release.