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Softball destroys weak Suffolk squad

By Michael J. Garrison

The softball team posted a huge win yesterday afternoon, defeating Suffolk University 16-8. Suffolk allowed 15 hits and seven free bases (eight hits in the fourth inning alone), while MIT's Lynn Albers '92 gave up only six hits and five walks. The win raises the Engineers' New England record to 6-3 (2-3 in conference play).

The game started out with mixed signals. In the top of the first MIT shut down Suffolk 1-2-3, without letting a ball leave the infield. The Engineers also looked to be in strong shape when the first four MIT batters all scored. Two walks were followed by a single from Diane DiMassa '88 and a double by Stephanie Ragucci '90. A passed ball allowed the fourth run to score.

But Suffolk recovered the momentum when the shortstop snagged a hard line drive from the bat of Linda D'Angelo '90 and doubled off the runner on first base, Lisa Johnson '92, to end the inning. They retained it through the top of the second, when four of the first five Suffolk batters crossed home plate. None of them, however, had gotten on base with hits.

After a fly to centerfielder Teri Lowenstein '89, the next Suffolk batters got on with a walk, an error on shortstop DiMassa, another walk, catcher interference, and, finally, a base hit. A sacrifice fly to Showna Chang '92, in left field, provided the final run.

MIT responded with two more runs in the bottom of the second. After Michelle Duso '91 led off with a walk, she took the first of five stolen MIT bases. Although "freely given bases" might be more accurate -- not once did Suffolk even attempt the throw to second.

Duso was nearly picked off, however, when Kim Germain '90 hit a line drive to third base. After another walk, a single, and a fielder's choice which got the lead runner, Ragucci walked to score one run, and Chang singled to score another.

Suffolk was held scoreless from the second to the fifth inning. The only excitement while Suffolk was at the plate came in the top of the fourth, when Duso retired the side by catching a Suffolk steal with a dead perfect throw. After MIT made a few lineup changes, Suffolk did manage to score once in the sixth and twice in the seventh, but they were never a threat.

The reason Suffolk never threatened was MIT's eight-run, twelve-batter fourth inning. Although Suffolk had replaced their first pitcher (most of whose pitches would have been legal in a slow-pitch game), Suffolk still could not keep the Engineers from hitting the ball. "We don't have a good pitching staff," Suffolk Coach Doreen Matta said after the game. "We try to get it over" the plate and let the defense make the outs, she continued.

It took a while for the defense to kick into the fourth inning, however. The slugfest started with five straight singles, by Ragucci, Laura Brauer '89, Johnson, D'Angelo, and Lisa Booth '92. After a fielder's choice forced out D'Angelo at third but allowed Johnson to score, two more hits (and some free steals) scored two more runs.

At this point MIT's hitting slowed down. With one out, DiMassa hit a RBI sacrifice fly to drive in Lowenstein. Ragucci, up for her second time in the inning, hit an easy fly to right field -- which was dropped. When Brauer got her second hit of the inning, throwing errors allowed Ragucci to cross the plate. Johnson finally grounded out to second, ending the inning.

MIT Coach Jean Heiney remarked afterwards that it was good to dominate a team after losing so closely the day before [see Sports Update]. The Engineers' next game is a doubleheader against Nichols, to be played Saturday on Briggs Field.