Moon Township, PA - Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) had a huge game going 4-for-4 and driving in four runs in a 10-7 victory as the SHU softball team won the second game of a Northeast Conference double header against Robert Morris. Sacred Heart fell 3-2 in eight innings in the opening contest of the afternoon, dropping the Pioneers to 0-3 in extra innings in 2011. Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) pitched 3.1 innings of relief in the SHU triumph to earn her 12th win of the season.
Robert Morris (18-23, 9-5 NEC) took the early lead in the first game as Kayla Crooks notched a RBI double with two outs in the second inning. Cassie Show made it 2-0 as she singled through the left side to plate Crooks. The Pioneers got on the board with a little help from RMU starter Alexa Bryson. Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) struck out with one down in the fourth but reached base safely on a wild pitch. Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) immediately made Bryson pay with a run scoring double as SHU cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
Sacred Heart (20-17, 8-4 NEC) would even the game in the sixth inning as Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) cracked a leadoff double. Freshman Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD) moved Froelich over to third on an infield single. Two batters later Tsipouras, the SHU cleanup hitter, knotted it at 2-2 with a RBI single up the middle. However, the Pioneers would be unable to take the lead as the Colonials recorded the next two outs on hard hit balls.
Robert Morris set the stage for a walk-off win in the seventh inning, loading the bases with no outs. Russell worked her way out of the jam with three straight ground outs to send the first game into extras. Lee reached first on a two out RMU error in the eighth to bring up Tsipouras with the go-ahead run on base. Tsipouras hit the ball hard but lined out to the left fielder to end the frame.
The Colonials got their half of the eighth started with a double from Crooks and advancing her to third on a sacrifice bunt. The next batter hit a ground ball to SHU second baseman Melissa Tobin (Hudson, MA) who fired home to cut down Crooks and keep the winning run off the board. However, Robert Morris kept the inning alive and put together two more hits with Maritza Jimenez slapping the walk-off single up the middle.
The Pioneers quickly erased an early 2-0 RMU edge in game two with a five run second inning. Annie Dreher (Saugus, CA) and Sidor started the inning with back-to-back hits with Sidor's knock plating a run. Two batters later Carley Rudloff (Queen Creek, AZ) cranked a three-run blast, her first homer of 2011, to put Sacred Heart on top, 4-2. Lee finished the inning with a double of her own to chase home Bowins from first base and make it a 5-2 affair.
The Pioneers would stretch the advantage to 8-2 in the top of the fourth. Rudloff and Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA) both reached base to start the inning. Lee came to the plate with two outs and still two on and cleared the bases with her seventh long ball of the year, scoring three runs. The Colonials answered right back with three markers of their own in the bottom of the fourth and forcing the Pioneer game two starter, Sidor, from the game.
Sacred Heart plated a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh as Tsipouras hit the Pioneers third homer of the contest, a two run shot that opened up a 10-5 SHU cushion. The Colonials began chipping away at the lead and started the bottom of the seventh with four consecutive hits and cut it to 10-7. The rally would be stopped as Sacred Heart turned a 5-5-3 double play, Jasmine Vicente (Wantagh, NY) to Lee. Russell induced the final out of the afternoon on a Jackie Timko grounder as the Pioneers won the second game shootout, 10-7, to get the double header split.
The Pioneer softball team returns to action tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 pm for a pair of NEC games on the road versus Saint Francis (PA).