WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior pitcher Jessica Cherness (Torrance, Calif.) held the Crusaders to one earned run on five hits with six strikeouts in game one but the Brown softball team dropped a pair of non-league games, 3-1 and 8-0 in five innings, to Holy Cross at Freshman Field on Thursday.
In game one, sophomore Molly Ann Mecca (Jessup, Pa.) sacrificed in an unearned run in the top of the first to put the Bears ahead but Holy Cross added single runs in the third, fourth and fifth to squeeze out a narrow 3-1 victory. The Crusaders then pounded 13 hits, highlighted by a 2-for-2 performance with a home run by Alex Gustafson, in the nightcap to take the 8-0 decision in five innings.
A hit-by-pitch, fielding error and walk loaded the bases in the top of the first for Mecca, who squeezed to the shortstop to bring in Brown's first run.
Cherness struck out five of the first eight batters she faced but ran into trouble in the third. Two singles and two stolen bases, including a double-steal of second and home, tied the game at 1-1 after three complete frames. Mecca knocked a one-out single in the fourth but was stranded, leaving the door open for a fourth-inning sacrifice fly and a fifth-inning RBI single to give Holy Cross the 3-1 advantage. Freshman Sarah Syrop (Kennesaw, Ga.) ripped a two-out pinch hit single in the top of the seventh for one of her two hits on the day but a flyout to left in foul territory ended the game.
The Crusaders scored in each of the first four innings, including a four-spot in the bottom of the second, to go up 8-0 in game two. Brown freshman Leah Nakashima (San Jose, Calif.) was saddled with the loss over 2.0 innings, while classmate Gina Chieffallo (Eynon, Pa.) covered the final two innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits.
Gustafson launched a two-out solo home run to center to put the hosts ahead 1-0 after one inning. Back-to-back singles got the Crusaders started in the second and a third single looked as though it would score another run until senior left fielder Kelsey Williams (Greenwood, Ind.) gunned the runner out at home for the second out of the inning. Holy Cross strung together four straight base hits, however, and jumped ahead 5-0.
Becky Geddes picked up right where the Crusaders left off and uncorked a solo shot to center to lead off the bottom of the third. A two-out single made it 7-0 after three and the Bears tried to answer in the fourth with a single by sophomore Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ontario) and double by junior Trista Chavez (San Pedro, Calif.), but a flyout and lineout got Holy Cross out of the inning unscathed.
A bases-loaded single in the fourth gave the hosts an 8-0 advantage but two Brown base hits proved not enough to start a rally in the fifth as the Bears went down in five.
Brown returns home on Saturday with the first doubleheader of a four-game Ivy League set with Dartmouth. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.