Fairfield, CT – The SHU softball team closed out its NEC schedule with a pair of losses to Bryant Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park on senior day. Before the first-pitch the Pioneers honored their four graduating players: Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA), Carley Rudloff (Queen Creek, AZ), Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA), and Lisa Dean (Fairfield, CT). Rudloff notched both of SHU's RBI on the afternoon but the Bulldogs completed the sweep, 3-1 and 2-1.
Bryant (18-21, 9-5 NEC) got on the board immediately as the first batter of the game, Lauren Guy, lifted a solo homer over the center field fence. The Pioneers leveled it at 1-1 in the second inning as a pair of seniors combined to generate SHU's first run. Tsipouras started the frame with a single and scored two batters later on a RBI double to right center off the bat of Rudloff.
The Bulldogs regained the lead following a scary moment in the top of the fourth inning. Madeline Vleasquez lined a double off the bare hand of SHU third baseman Kate Nadler (Southbury, CT) to put runners on second and third. After Nadler left the game Kendall Corder laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to make it 2-1. The Bulldogs would then increase their advantage to 3-1 on an Amy Weinberg RBI single.
Sacred Heart (19-32, 6-14 NEC) had its best chance to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth. The Pioneers loaded the bases on singles from Nikki Surkes (Brightwaters, NY), Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) and Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD). However, the Pioneers would be unable to scratch out a run and finished game one having stranded eight base runners. Bryant went on to take the opening game, 3-1, as Brittany Hart went the distance in the circle to pick up her tenth win of the season.
Tsipouras was the Pioneers game two starter and found herself in a jam in the first inning as the Bulldogs loaded the bases with one out. The senior hurler worked out of trouble with a ground ball that cut down a runner at the plate followed by a strikeout of Taylor Bell to end the frame. The two teams would remain locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel until the sixth inning.
Bryant started the sixth with a single from Aubrey Mable who was then sacrificed into scoring position. Velasquez brought in the first run of game two with a double down the left field line. The Bulldogs added an insurance run to push the edge to 2-0 on a pinch-hit two-out RBI single from Corder.
The Pioneers started their half of the sixth inning with a Bowins' double to right center field. Rudloff would not leave the runner stranded and a two-out RBI brought SHU back within one at 2-1. Sacred Heart would get the tying run into scoring position with one in the seventh inning. But back-to-back ground outs ended the game, 3-1, as the Bulldogs completed the double header sweep. Jennifer Jacob, who allowed just four hits, earned the complete game win for Bryant.
The SHU softball team is scheduled to have its last two games of the 2012 season this Wednesday in a non-conference double header against Hartford. First-pitch is scheduled for 3:00 pm inside Pioneer Park.
The Pioneers also honored Assistant Coach Vicky White before today's game. White is retiring at the conclusion of this season after four years as a player and 15 as a coach at Sacred Heart University.