April 13, 2009
Fairfield, CT- The Sacred Heart softball team dropped a pair of games to Long Island Monday afternoon at Pioneer Park. The Blackbirds took an early 1-0 lead in game one and the teams traded unearned runs as a seventh inning rally fell short for the Pioneers in the 2-1 loss. A lack of production with runners in scoring position cost the Pioneers in game two as they fell 2-0. Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) pitched nine total innings in the double header and allowed just one earned run.
Sacred Heart (11-22, 7-5 NEC) had the first opportunity in game one putting runners at second and third with two outs in the bottom of the third. But LIU pitcher Blaire Porter recorded one of her nine strikeouts of the contests to end the threat. The Blackbirds rebounded their next time at bat pushing a run across on a fielder’s choice RBI from Brynn Lewis.
Long Island (17-14, 9-1 NEC) put the Pioneers right back in the game in the bottom half of the frame. SHU was able to move a runner to third with two outs but the inning appeared over as Adrian Fitzsimon (Sacramento, CA) rolled a ball to shortstop. But Bianca Mejia’s throw was low and handcuffed the first baseman allowing the run to score and knotting the game at one.
LIU loaded the bases in the top of the fifth and were poised to score with just one out. Russell got a ground ball right at shortstop Alyssa Garza but catcher Shannon McCoy could not squeeze the throw, which was tailing away from her, and the Blackbirds took the lead 2-1. Sacred Heart got a leadoff single in the last of the seventh from Fitzsimon as the Pioneers looked to force extras. Garza grounded a ball to second, where it was fielded by Lewis as she tagged the runner and threw to first for the double play that ended the ball game.
Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) worked out of early trouble in game two for the Pioneers as she gave up three hits in the second inning but left the bases loaded to keep the game at 0-0. LIU would notch three more hits in the third inning but this time push across a run on a Lewis single to left. The Pioneers were fooled by LIU starter Jenny Giles early but began to rack up the hits starting in the fourth.
The Pioneers put runners at first and second with one out in the fourth but Amanda Bradley (Langley, BC) lined out sharply to third base and Garza got caught off second for the inning ending double play. LIU extended its lead in the top of the fifth as Lewis delivered another RBI single. Sacred Heart would again get runners at first and second with one out in their half of the fifth but a strikeout and pop up kept them off the scoreboard.
Sacred Heart found itself with two runners on and two outs in the sixth inning as they looked to finally dent the scoreboard. Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) smoked the ball but it was right at the third baseman to end the rally. The Pioneers finally chased Giles from the game in the seventh on back to back singles from Fitzsimon and Jasmin Vicente (Wantagh, NY). Garza would be unable to move the runners over as she popped up the bunt and Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) reached on a fielder’s choice as Fitzsimon was cut down at third. Jessica Perez (Santa Maria, CA) hit the ball right back up the middle but it was snared by Porter who flipped to first and earned LIU the win and her third save of the season.
Sacred Heart will now hit the road on an eight game road trip that begins with non conference matchups with Yale and Stony Brook Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. The Pioneers then head south for conference action against Monmouth and Mount St. Mary’s.