CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT took an early 1-0 lead over Simmons College before the Sharks struck for two runs in the fourth inning and tacked on three more in the fifth to down the Engineers, 5-1, in non-conference softball action on Tuesday afternoon. The game was the season opener for Tech while Simmons improves to 4-7 with the win.
Freshman Lauren Backhaus (Windson, Conn.) limited the Cardinal and Gray to just two hits and one walk over seven innings while striking out four. MIT starter, senior Jessica Iacobucci (Phoenixville, Pa.), lasted four innings, allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts. Freshman Ellie Fodor (Trenton, Mich.) pitched the final three frames, giving up just one earned run on five this with four punch-outs.
Iacobucci started off strong, retiring the side in each of the first three innings while striking out five of the first six batters she faced.
In the bottom of the third, junior Leah Alpert (Needham, Mass.) led off with a base hit to right before Iacobucci sacrificed her over to second. Alpert moved up to third on a passed ball and scored senior Nydia Ruleman's (Germantown, Tenn.) infield grounder. Simmons got out of the inning with a double-play ball induced by Backhaus.
Simmons wasted little time answering back, getting a pair of runs in the top half of the next inning. Ari King (Westford, Mass.) roped a lead-off double over the centerfielder's head and came home on a double by Emily Cunningham (Cotuit, Mass.). Christina Mulcahy (Cambridge, Mass.) drove Cunningham home with her base hit up the middle.
MIT threatened in the home half of the sixth, as Ruleman reached base on a one-out, slap hit and was sacrificed over to second. The rally would end there, however, as freshman Sarah Van Belleghem (Los Gatos, Calif.) grounded out to third.
Simmons struck for three more runs in the seventh, including a pair of two-out, unearned runs, on four hits. With two away and one run already across, the Engineers seemed to be close to getting out of the inning, as Fodor induced a slow roller to third base. Shortstop Angela Ha (Houston, Texas) came over to cover the bag but was ruled off the base when she received the throw from junior Anna Christensen (Vernon Hills, Ill.). Cunningham hit a two-run single to left to push the Simmons advantage to four runs.
Christensen reached on a hit by pitch in the seventh but was retired on a fielder's choice and junior Emily Creedon (Stoneham, Mass.) struck out to close out the game.
The Engineers will be off for the next week and a half before departing for Clermont, Fla. for their annual Spring Break trip. MIT will play 10 games in five days while in Florida. Simmons will open Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play next Friday, March 23 with a road doubleheader against Albertus Magnus.