Worcester, Mass. – Olivia Barksdale (Fort Washington, Md.) drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth with a stinging single to the left center field gap giving host Clark University a doubleheader sweep over Worcester State in non-league softball action on Sunday afternoon at O'Brien Field.
Barksdale's base hit capped a back-and-forth affair between city rivals as the Cougars took the first game 4-0 and then the nightcap 5-4. She proved to be one of the main offensive cogs for the hosts, going a combined 5-for-7 on the day.
Clark improves to 12-22 on the year with four conference contests remaining, while the Lancers have now dropped four straight to slip to 12-17-1.
Worcester State has little time to lick their wounds as they return to MASCAC play on Monday, hosting Framingham State beginning at 12:00 p.m. The Cougars will wrap up their season next weekend starting with Senior Day on Friday when they host Babson College and then hit the road to face Emerson on Saturday.
Game 1: Clark University 4, Worcester State 0
The opening game was shaping into quite the pitcher's duel between Clark's Brenna Foley (Charlton, Mass.) and the Lancers' Mary McKeown (Shrewsbury, Mass.).
Neither team could must much offense but the Cougars were the first to threaten when they loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth when Anjelica Gonzalez (Merrimack, N.H.) reached on a fielder's choice, Kayleigh McHugh (Pepperrell, Mass.) singled and Taylor Erickson (Natick, Mass.) walked. The threat was silenced when pinch hitter Danielle Tesler (Stoughton, Mass.) smacked a liner to right but it was right at Samantha Rivers (Leicester, Mass.).
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when the Scarlet and White pushed their first run across. First, Barksdale singled to right and then was sacrificed to second by Jocie Orangio (Maynard, Mass.). Barksdale then used her speed to race home on a ringing Lauren Mackey (Dublin, N.H.) single to left.
Clark added three more runs in the sixth on a Barksdale run-scoring single and then a two-run double by Orangio.
Foley was excellent in the circle for the Cougars, retiring 12 of the final 13 batters she faced, finishing with four hits allowed and four strikeouts.
Sydney Despes (Sterling, Mass.) and Corrie Derosier (Shrewsbury, Mass.) each had two hits for the Lancers, while McKeown took the loss, allowing nine hits and four earned runs.
Clark's offense collected ten hits, led by Barksdale, who had three hits out of the No. 9 spot, while Rachel Kraytenberg (Londonderry, N.H.) and Orangio each had two.
Game 2: Clark University 5, Worcester State 4 (8 innings)
After reliever Sami West (Gonic, N.H.) retired the Lancers in order in the top of the eighth with a runner on second, the Cougars got their chance and cashed in with Barksdale's winning hit.
Worcester State actually jumped out to an early 2-0 lead off of Clark's starter Erickson. Courtney Salisbury (Cranston, R.I.) led off the game with a single and was followed by a Haley Terry (North Dighton, Mass.) base hit. They were then brought home by Despes, who crushed a double to left field.
Clark quickly knotted the score when Alyssa Wright (Manchester, N.H.) singled and then raced home on a Mackey double. Gonzalez tied the score when she and Mackey traded places after her double to center.
The Lancers went back ahead in the third when Salisbury and Terry got on again and Despes delivered Salisbury home with a single.
Erickson looked to be out of trouble by only allowing one run, but Rivers singled home Terry, making the score, 4-2.
Clark got one run back when Orangio singled and then circled the bases on Kraytenberg's double to deep center.
The Cougars then tied the game at 4-4 when Mackey blasted her third homerun of the season – a towering shot to left – to lead off the bottom of the fifth.
Worcester State seemed poised to move back ahead in the top of the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out when Salisbury and Terry singled and Despes walked. But West was able to escape unscathed as she got Taylor Daniels (Norco, Calif.) to popup to Wright at short and Kayla Humphrey (Wallingford, Conn.) to flyout to Leah Bodin (Andover, Vt.) in deep left.
Barksdale's winning hit came when West was placed on second to start the bottom of the eighth as part of the international tiebreaker rule. Bodin flew out to left for the first out and Barksdale was down to her last strike when Marissa Avanzato (Pittsfield, Mass.) found too much of the plate with her pitch and Barksdale was able to smoke to left, ending the contest as West raced home without a throw.
West was dominant in relief of Erickson, tossing 2.2 innings of relief while allowing one hit, one walk and fanning five in collecting her fifth win of the season.
Salisbury, Terry and Despes – the Lancers 1-2-3 hitter – went a combined 9-for-11 at the plate in the nightcap, while the rest of the Worcester State lineup was just 1-for-22.
Clark banged out 14 hits as all starters got at least one hit, while Bodin, Barksdale, Orangio, Mackey and Wright all had two.