April 19, 2008
Brooklyn, NY - A two-out RBI single in the eighth inning by sophomore Mariesha Marker broke a scoreless tie and lifted the Long Island University softball team to a dramatic 1-0 win in the second game of a Northeast Conference doubleheader with Sacred Heart on Saturday afternoon. The Blackbirds took the first game in a slugfest, 8-6.
Sophomore Blaire Porter picked up the victories in both games, throwing her seventh shutout of the season in game two and striking out 11 over eight innings. Freshman Lauren Kemp registered four hits, scored three times and hit her first career home run, a three-run, inside-the-park round tripper in the third inning of the first game.
Long Island entered the first game of the twinbill having allowed only seven runs against NEC teams all year. But the Pioneers touched up Blackbird pitching with six in the first contest with a pair of three-run frames. After LIU scored two runs on two walks, two hit-by-pitches and an error in the first, the Pioneers responded with three in the top of the second to take the lead. SHU's Betsy Harvey had a double and scored in the inning. Freshman Shannon McCoy was 3-for-4 with two RBI in the game.
The Blackbirds would re-take the lead in the bottom half of the inning, as a double by senior Jessie DePippo and a sacrifice fly by classmate Vanessa Mejia put Long Island up 4-3. The lead would be short-lived as Sacred Heart would score three runs of their own in the ensuing half-inning to give the team a 6-4 advantage.
Not to be outdone, LIU would match the Pioneers with a three-spot in the bottom of the third via Kemp's three-run inside-the-park home run. With two runners on, Kemp hit a line drive to left field. SHU's Adrian Fitzsimon made a lunging attempt but the ball fell just in front of her, cued past her and rolled all the way to the wall. A relay throw at the plate was just late as Kemp put the Blackbirds ahead, 7-6. Kemp would add to the lead in the following frame with an RBI single that scored Mejia.
In a game that was completely opposite of the first, the second contest of the day featured a pitcher's duel between Porter and Sacred Heart freshman Jen Russell. After allowing back-to-back hits to begin the game, Russell allowed only a pair of bunt base-hits by senior Brittany Murphy over the next six innings. Russell finished the game with three strikeouts but had her streak of seven straight wins snapped.
Porter was equally impressive, striking out at least one batter in every inning she pitched while scattering four hits through seven. In the eighth, Russell tried to help herself out with her second hit of the day, a single up the middle. Porter was up to the task, inducing the next batter to ground out to end the inning.
In the bottom half of the eighth, Russell quickly got two down before Kemp rocketed a liner over the out-stretched arm of Sacred Heart centerfielder Taylor Froelich for a triple. Marker followed and hit the first pitch she saw up the middle, just out of the reach of Pioneer second baseman Betsy Harvey, to score Kemp for the walk-off win.
The Pioneers are back in action Sunday when they visit Wagner. First pitch of the doubleheader is set for 12:00 pm.