March 31, 2009

Pioneers Impressive in Two Wins over CCSU to Remain Perfect in NEC Play

March 31, 2009

 

Game 1 Boxscore
Game 2 Boxscore
The Sacred Heart softball team posted identical 3-0 wins in both ends of Tuesday's double header against Central Connecticut. The Pioneer pitching continued its dominance in NEC play as Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) and Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) each earned a win and combined to post two shutouts over the visiting Blue Devils. The pitching duo got plenty of help from its offense and defense as Sacred Heart moves to 4-0 in the Northeast Conference.

Central Connecticut (6-15, 2-2 NEC) had the first scoring opportunity of the game in the top half of the second inning. The Blue Devils had runners on second and third with no outs and Sara Budrick at the dish. Budrick lifted a fly ball to shallow right field where Jessica Perez (Santa Maria, CA) made the play and fired home. The throw was slightly up the line but catcher Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) corralled it and made a great swipe tag to complete the double play and deny the Blue Devils in what would be their best scoring opportunity of the day.

Sacred Heart (7-14, 4-0 NEC) wasted little time responding, jumping on Central's game one starter Liz Montemurro in the bottom half of the second. Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) laced a one out triple to the right center field gap to start the rally. Betsy Harvey (Unionville, CT) notched her ninth RBI of the season with a base knock to right field. After an Adrian Fitzsimon (Sacramento, CA) single Jasmin Vicente (Wantagh, NY) extended the SHU lead to 2-0 with an RBI single of her own. Sacred Heart added one more in the inning on a fielder's choice off the bat of Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA).

That cushion proved to be more than enough for Russell who found her groove and at one point set down 13 consecutive Central Connecticut batters. Russell needed just 78 pitches to record the complete game shutout in which she allowed just five hits. Russell struck out four batters as she earned her third win in NEC play this season.

Tsipouras started game two for the Pioneers and with the help of some solid defense allowed just two hits through six and one third innings. The best of those defensive efforts came on a Budrick blooper into shallow left field. Garza, the shortstop, went back on the ball and caught it after a full extension dive to make a spectacular grab. Harvey also got into the defensive act with a jumping catch on a line drive as well as making an impressive turn to complete one of SHU's three double plays in the contest.

Senior Amanda Bradley (Langley, BC) gave her freshman pitcher an early cushion with an RBI single in the first inning to drive home Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA). After the Pioneers added an unearned run in the second Tsipouras hit cruise control, not allowing a hit through the first four innings. In the top of the fifth however, she took a hard line drive to her left knee off the bat of Budrick. After being looked at by coaches and trainers the freshman showed her toughness and remained in the game into the seventh inning.

SHU added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI triple down the left field line off the bat of Lee, her second triple of the double header. Fatigue and a sore knee appeared to finaly get the better of Tsipouras and she came out with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh inning. Russell came into the game and forced the first batter she faced to hit into a game ending 5-5-3 double play. The win was Tsipouras' first in conference play as she has now thrown 10 and two thirds scoreless innings against NEC opponents. Russell picked up her second save of the season as the Pioneers sit atop the standings in the Northeast Conference at 4-0.

The Pioneers will now take to the road as they travel to Hartford this Thursday before continuing NEC action in Pennsylvania this weekend against Saint Francis (PA) and Robert Morris