MANSFIELD, Conn. – Salve Regina University scored the go-ahead run with a ground ball in the top of the eighth inning of the first game, then hit five home runs in the nightcap in sweeping a non-conference doubleheader from Eastern Connecticut State University, 5-4 in eight innings and 15-5, Sunday afternoon at the Eastern Softball Stadium in the Warriors' final regular-season games.
In the first game, Eastern (17-20) tied the game at 4-all with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on three hits and two bases-loaded walks, but left the bases loaded in that inning and stranded two more in the sixth before Salve (17-19) pushed across what proved to be the winning run in the top of the eighth. Junior centerfielder Megan Guest (Meriden) opened the inning on second base, stole third, and raced home on an infield ground ball.
Winning pitcher Andi Nelson, a freshman righty, stranded the tying run on third with a swinging strikeout and game-ending infield ground ball to secure the Game 2 win.
Having hit only three home runs all season, Salve got five home runs in the nightcap, two coming on two-run home runs in a seven-run first inning by sophomore shortstop Maddie Machado and freshman No. 9 hitter Jaycee Garrigan. Junior shortstop Amanda Riley and Machado also blasted home runs in a three-run second inning that made it 10-0.
Seven players had at least two hits in Salve's 17-hit second-game explosion, with Riley, Machado and junior catcher Holly Kathios (Pelham, NH) all driving in three runs. Riley was 3-for-4 with two runs, Kathios 2-for-3 with a run and Machado 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Guest, senior leftfielder Lindsay DelGrego and Garrigan all had two hits and two RBI in the second game, with Guest scoring three times and Garrigan twice.
Nelson (11-6) was credited with both wins on the mound in relief roles. Nelson allowed only one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings on the day, fanning nine without a walk.
In two games, eight different Salve player drove in at least one run, 11 scored at least one., and ten contributed at least one hit.
Lombardo was 6-for-9 with three runs and an RBI; DelGrego 4-for-5 with four RBI, Riley 4-for-8 with four RBI and three runs and Guest 2-for-7 with two walks, four runs scored and two RBI.
Playing in the final home games of her career, Eastern senior outfielder Jessica Seymour (Barkhamsted) reached four times with three hits and a walk in the doubleheader, scored a run and drove in a run, while sophomore centerfielder Sabrina LeMere (North Branford) also reached four times with three hits and a walk, and sophomore pitcher/first baseman Haleigh Cardello (Litchfield, NH) drove in two runs to highlight a five-run fourth inning in Game 2.
Freshman righty Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) went the eight-inning distance in the first game. Bolduk (10-9) allowed four earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts and a walk. After giving up an RBI double when Salve took a 4-2 lead with two runs in the fifth, Bolduk allowed only one baserunner (infield hit) the rest of the way.
Eastern faces the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Thursday at noon in the opening round of the Little East Conference Tournament at Plymouth State University.