Loretto, PA – The Sacred Heart softball team salvaged the second game of a Northeast Conference double header for the second straight day, defeating Saint Francis (PA) 7-3 to earn a split for the afternoon. Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) plated all three SHU runs in the opening game, a 4-3 loss, with a three-run homer while Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) hit her seventh long ball of 2011 in game two. Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) tossed four innings to pick up the win in the pitching circle while Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) threw the last three frames to earn her third save of the season.
Saint Francis (PA) (10-32, 2-10 NEC) took an early 3-0 edge, pushing across three runs in their first turn at bat. The markers came on three Red Flash hits but were aided by a Pioneer fielding error, making two of those runs against Russell unearned.
Sacred Heart (21-18, 9-5 NEC) immediately evened the game with three runs of their own in the top of the second inning. Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) reached base on a one out single followed by a Melissa Tobin (Hudson, MA) walk. Two batters later Froelich's sixth homerun of the year made it a new ball game, 3-3. From there both starting pitchers, SHU Russell's and SFU's Megan Layne, settled in and lock down the offenses.
The game would reach the bottom of the seventh still tied with the Red Flash looking for a walk-off victory. Another Pioneer error put a Saint Francis (PA) runner in scoring position and gave the home team an extra out. The Red Flash took advantage and for the second straight day SHU dropped game one of a double header via a walk-off hit as Chelsy Consentino ended it with a single to right field.
Tsipouras' solo blast started the second inning of game two to give the Pioneers an early 1-0 advantage. Sacred Heart opened the cushion to 4-0 in the top of the third on RBI singles from Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) and Annie Dreher (Saugus, CA). Sidor struck out eight batters in her four innings of work en route to her seventh win of the year. However, the sophomore hurler gave up a pair of runs to start the fifth inning on a Karlie Miller homer.
The Pioneers added insurance runs in the top of the seventh as Lee drew a free pass while Tsipouras and Dreher both singled to load the bases. Sacred Heart got one run on a passed ball and a second in the same at bat following a wild pitch. McCoy slashed a RBI single to right as SHU tacked on three runs in its final turn at the plate. Russell allowed just one run in her relief appearance to secure the 7-3 victory and double header split for the Pioneers.
The Sacred Heart softball team returns to action this Friday for a crucial NEC double header showdown against rival Quinnipiac at Pioneer Park. First pitch is set for 1:00 pm.