Pioneers sweep St. Francis (NY) in Conference Opener

April 4, 2005

Box Score

BROOKLYN (NY) (April 4) - The Sacred Heart University softball team used late game heroics in both ends of a double header to sweep the St. Francis (NY) Terriers in Northeast Conference action on Monday night. The two teams were making up the two games which were washed out on Saturday afternoon. The Pioneers won the first end of the double-dip 5-4 and the back end by a score of 5-3.

In the first game SHU struck early, scoring twice in the top of the first inning. Junior Jen Place (Latham, NY) doubled to lead off the game and was sacrificed over to third by Megan Spehar (Thousand Oaks, CA). She would score one batter later when Tiffanie Cross-Monzo (Thousand Oaks, CA) singled down the left field line to bring her in. The Pioneers would load the bases following a Caitlin Carroll (Los Alimtos, CA) single and Brittany Uno (Winnetka, CA) walk for Jacqui Riley (Burlington, MA). She would ground to the short stop who cut down Cross-Monzo at the plate for the second out of the inning. SHU would add their second run of the inning when Heather Gutkes (Newport, RI) singled to left-center to plate Carroll.

In the bottom of the inning St. Francis would reclaim a run after pitcher Danielle Mellin (LaCanada, CA) gave up a lead-off single followed by a pair of hit batsmen to load the bases. After striking out clean up hitter Janine Valentin, Mellin gave up run scoring single to Jen Campuzano to cut the SHU lead to 2-1. Mellin would regroup to strike out the next batter and ended the inning by getting Juliana Endo to fly out to right field.

The Pioneers would hold the one-run advantage until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Terriers would tie the game thanks to an un-earned run. Mellin started the inning off by getting Serena Varvas to pop up to third. The next hitter, Nicole Adisano singled to left-center and advanced to second on a Kimberly Procida base knock. Amanda Pileggi reached on an error by Place to load the bases. Valentin followed that up by tying the game with a single. Mellin got out of the jam by getting Campuzano to line out to Cameron at second who fired over to third to complete the double play and force extra innings.

The Pioneers put up a pair of runs in the top of the eighth thanks to a Carroll solo shot and a run scoring single by Melissa Mezzanotte (North Haven, CT), but were unable to hold the lead in the bottom of the inning on RBI singles Procida and Pileggi.

The Pioneers would take the lead again in the top of the ninth, taking advantage of sloppy defense by the Terriers. Dana Jusino (Rutherford, NJ) started the inning off with a single and advanced to third when Cross-Monzo's grounder to second was mis-handled putting runners on the corners. The Terriers elected to put Carroll on first to load the bases for Uno. The Pioneers would get the winning run across the plate when the Terriers made their second error of the inning, this time by the third basemen, which allowed Jusino to score from third. Spehar took over for Mellin in the bottom of the ninth and set the side down in order to preserve the victory and pick up the save.

Mellin went eight innings giving up a dozen hits and four runs, three of which were earned, while striking out three to pick up the victory. Spehar pitched a perfect ninth to pick up the save.

Sacred Heart took the lead in game two of the doubleheader in the top of the second inning thanks to a two-run double off the bat of Cameron. The lead would be short lived, however, thanks to back-to-back run scoring doubles in the bottom of the inning by pitcher Mikka Vrankovich and Adisano to give St. Francis a 3-2 lead.

The Terriers threatened to extend the lead in the fifth putting runners on second and third with nobody out before Spehar came in to relieve Bethany Lemenager (New Bedford, MA) and got out of the jam thanks to a pair of strike outs wrapped around a foul out. The score would remain the same until the Pioneers staged a three-run rally in the top half of the sixth to go on top 5-3. Gutkes was plunked by Vrankovich to lead off the inning and was successfully sacrificed over to second by Riley. This was followed by a double down the left field line by Jusino which plated Gutkes to tie the game at 3. The Pioneers wasted little time in taking the lead as the next batter, Cameron, singled home Jusino to give SHU a 4-3 lead. Sacred Heart would tack on an insurance run later in the inning when Place singled home Cameron to close out the scoring.

Spehar, who was in her second inning of relief, set the side down in order, striking out the final two batters to close out the game and pick up the victory. Lemenager finished the day giving up three runs in four innings on nine hits with one strike out to get the no decision. Spehar pitched two perfect innings in relief striking out four batters to pick up the victory.

The Pioneers return to action on Wednesday, April 6th when they travel down Rt. 15 to take on in-state rivals Yale in New Haven for two games. First pitch is at 3:00 PM.