SMITHFIRLD, R.I. – The Bryant University softball team split games on Tuesday, including a 3-0 win over Iona, in which sophomore Kaleigh Goulart (Marion, Mass.) hit the game-winning three-run homer in the fifth, before the Bulldogs were edged out by UC Riverside, 5-4, in the bottom of the seventh.
After a scoreless four innings, Goulart hit a three-RBI homer in the bottom of the fifth, lifting the Bulldogs (3-13) to a 3-0 win over the Gaels (6-9). With freshman Tiffany Bell (Egg Harbor City, N.J.) on first, senior Haylee Haas (Moorpark, Calif.) singled to right center. Classmate Lauren Keast (Holliston, Mass.) followed with a sacrifice bunt, advancing Haas to second and Bell to third. With one out and runners on second and third, Goulart drilled the three-run homer to help Bryant to its third win of the season. The sophomore's homerun is her second this year, marking the Bulldogs' only two of the season.
Freshman Gabrielle Ermish (Pottstown, Pa.) closed out the final two innings with two strikeouts, while allowing only one hit en route to her second win of the season in the circle. The rookie fanned a career-best seven batters in the contest, while giving up no runs on four hits and one walk in seven innings.
Jessica Harkness moved to 0-3 on the season after giving up three runs off four hits, while throwing four strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
Bell went a team-best 2-for-2, while the Bulldogs finished with six hits in the contest. The Gaels were headed by Ashlyn Morris' and Marisa Gergel's 2-for-3 mark.
After trailing 2-0, the Bulldogs (3-14) put together a dominant four-run inning in the top of the third, but the Highlanders (11-9) earned the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh to seal the 5-4 victory.
The Highlanders scored in back-to-back innings, taking the 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second off Chelsey Holley's sacrifice fly to left field that plated Brittney Garcia.
The Bulldogs responded back in the top of the third, taking a 4-2 advantage off two hits. Jacy Boles walked leadoff batter freshman Nicole Zukowski (Medford, N.Y.) before classmate Nicole Davis (Toms River, N.J.) singled to third base. Zukowski followed by stealing third. Bell then loaded the bases after knocking a ground ball to the infield.
With no outs and the bases loaded, Haas reached off the fielder's choice, allowing Zukowski to score the Bulldogs' first run of the game, 2-1. One out later and the bases still loaded, Goulart hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, plating Bell for the game-tying run. Freshman Marianna Politis (Arcadia, Calif.) drilled a two-RBI single to give the Black and Gold their first lead of the game, 4-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Highlanders tied the game, 4-4, off an RBI sacrifice fly by Jeane Lockwood, and Danielle Ortega's score after stealing home.
After the Bulldogs went down in order in the sixth and scored no runs off one hit in the seventh, the hosting Highlanders found the game-winning score off Jenna Curtan's RBI single to third base with two outs.
After scoring four runs in the third, the Bulldogs scored no runs off three hits, while leaving three runners on base in the remaining four innings.
Davis led the Bulldogs, going 2-for-3, while the team scored four runs off five hits. Madeline Richard went 2-for-3 and scored two runs to lead the Highlanders, while the hosts scored five runs off nine hits.
Anessa Cepeda earned the win on the mound, allowing no runs off one hit, as she moved to 5-0 on the season. Sophomore Brandi Burgin (Santa Clarita, Calif.) recorded the loss, letting up five runs off nine hits.
The Bulldogs get one day of rest before taking on North Dakota and UC Davis in Davis, Calif. on Thursday, March 16, at noon and 4:15 (ET), respectively.