Six-run surge powers Lincoln-Way East past Providence

SHARE Six-run surge powers Lincoln-Way East past Providence

Pop-up, pop-up and another pop-up.

Lincoln-Way East’s Carissa Ernat had her struggles through three at-bats Tuesday at Providence.

By her fourth at-bat, the senior had things figured out.

Ripping a bases-clearing double in a six-run sixth inning, Ernat helped Lincoln-Way East blow open a close game in a 7-1 nonconference win.

It was announced Tuesday that Lincoln-Way East is the top seed at its own sectional with Providence No. 2.

“A lot of teams hit that late slump, and we haven’t hit that,” Ernat said. “This win brings our confidence to a new level. I’m hoping we keep it that way.”

Shut down by Providence starter Kendal Judge, Lincoln-Way East (15-3) managed just three hits through five innings in falling behind 1-0. Griffins starting pitcher Chrisi Mizera (9-0) got things started in the sixth, though, with a leadoff double.

Following an infield groundout, pinch hitter Nikole VanGennep stepped to the dish.

“It was kind of scary in the box, but I stood in there and tried my best,” VanGennep said. “I tried to just stay calm.”

The recent sophomore call-up made the most of it, ripping a single to center and bringing courtesy runner Eleni Kioussis home from third to tie the game.

Three batters later with the bases loaded, Ernat turned on a Judge offering and smashed a double to deep center. All three runners came around to give East a 4-1 lead.

“I was practicing in warm-ups, and I knew I shouldn’t get under [the pitch],” Ernat said. “I kept practicing, making sure I was getting down on the ball. Thank goodness, I finally got a nice, hard line drive that really helped us out.”

Mizera (five innings, one run, nine strikeouts) and Sam Esposito (two innings, three strikeouts) combined to shut down the Providence (16-7) offense, allowing just four hits. Morgan Greenwood had an RBI single for the Celtics in the third, bring Maeve Garvey home.

“We’ve seen a lot of good pitchers this year, but this is one of the worst days we’ve had at the plate,” Providence coach Jay Biesterfeld said. “We had way too many strikeouts, and we have to do a better job of putting the ball in play.”

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