Against conference foe, Lions nab eighth win in a row

by Chris Eyer / Beacon Staff • April 11, 2011

, Beacon staff

Score more than the other team, and you’ll win — a basic principle in all sports.

There are two ways to accomplish this: put up big numbers on the scoreboard, or limit how much the other team tallies.

Emerson’s softball team has used the latter to earn a first-place spot in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

The Lions went into their double-header against Emmanuel College Tuesday night having won six games in a row, including four straight shutouts. Head coach Phil McElroy explained how his Lions have kept their opponents off the scoreboard.

“We use five pitchers, but we really have about 12,” McElroy said after his team swept the doubleheader from the Saints by the scores of 5-1 and 11-3. “We have a new pitching coach [Jannelle Iaquinto].”

Junior Kelsey Tuthill was the first to take the mound for Emerson in the double-header. She retired the first 10 batters she faced before issuing a walk in the fourth to Suffolk’s Sierra Roccaro. After the walk she returned to her dominating ways. The Saints rarely made contact all day, and Tuthill finished with 13 strikeouts.

On the other side of the ball, the Lions scored two runs right out of the gate, allowing Tuthill to

[caption id="attachment_619" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Photo Courtesy of Lauren Foley"][/caption]

breathe easier on the hill.

“It’s definitely more relaxing [when you have run support],” Tuthill said. “Because it’s not as big a deal if you make a mistake as if it was a tied game.” 

Tuthill went the distance, allowing just one hit in the seventh inning and recording her sixth win of the year.

“That’s just Kelsey being Kelsey,” McElroy said. “When she’s on, she’s very difficult to hit. If she continues to throw like that it will be hard to beat her.”

Tuthill, a communication sciences and disorders major, leads the Lions in innings pitched and won both the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Pitcher and Rookie of the Year in 2009, but was injured last season.

The two runs Emerson pushed across in the early going proved crucial as Emmanuel starter Kathryn Copp settled into a groove until the fifth inning, when the Lions were able to break through.

Jordan Newell and Lynn Herman got on base after lengthy at-bats and Tuthill followed by reaching on a bunt that took the Saints’ infield by surprise. This set the stage for Lissa Pappas to crush a three-run double to centerfield, blowing the game open and chasing Copp.

In the nightcap things were no different as masterful pitching led the Lions to victory, but this time it was Alex Magistro. The freshman was coming off a no-hitter Sunday against Mount Ida and picked up where she left off, allowing no runs over the first three innings.

The Lions batters, inconsistent in the first game, came alive against Saints pitcher Kelly Lloid.

“There’s a saying, ‘the faster it comes in, the faster it goes out,’” McElroy said. “Well, the pitches came in pretty fast, but then we sent them out pretty fast.”

In the third inning, Lynn Herman hit a two-run homer to deep center, and three other players added an RBI to push the Lions lead to 7-0. By the time Newell lined out to shortstop to end the inning, Emerson had already batted around.

“I think talking to each other was helpful,” Tuthill said. “After our at-bats, we came back to the dugout and talked about what the pitcher was throwing.”

The Lions added another four runs against relief pitcher Julia Levins, led by Lauren Jacaruso’s three-run double. This upped the Lions’ lead to 11-3, when Sara Murray came in to finish the job for Magistro.

The sweep of Emmanuel extended Emerson’s win streak to eight games. The Lions are  12-8 on the season overall, and 8-0 in the GNAC.