April 2, 2010
Fairfield, CT - Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA) went 4-8 and scored three runs, including the game winner in the 11th inning on a passed ball, as the Sacred Heart softball team swept a Northeast Conference double header from Central Connecticut State. Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) picked up both pitching wins and totaled 14 scoreless innings, shutting out CCSU in the opener before tossing seven lights out innings of relief in the finale.
Sacred Heart (10-14, 2-2 NEC) struck first in the first game of the double dip as Froelich shot an RBI single into center field to score Carley Rudloff (Thousand Oaks, CA) making it a 1-0 game after three innings. After a Blue Devil inning extended the fourth inning Rudloff would notch her own RBI single to drive in Adrian Fitzsimon (Sacramento, CA).
The Pioneers would extend the lead to 3-0 in the fifth on a strange play. SHU had runners at first and third with two outs and sent Jessica Di Piazza (Pompton Plains, NJ) from first to delibrately get caught in a run down. CCSU got to DiPiazza before the runner at third, Froelich, reached the plate but the first baseman initially bobbled the ball to extend the play and allowing the run to score.
Central Connecticut State (9-17, 2-4 NEC) got was shutdown throughout the first game by Russell. The sophomore pitcher struck out seven batters and allowed just two hits in her complete game victory. The Blue Devils got just one runner after the third inning as the Pioneers came away with the 3-0 triumph.
Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) started the second game for Sacred Heart, allowing no runs and just one hit in three innings of work. Froelich slammed a one out double off the left center field wall in the bottom of the third inning. She would later cross the plate on a Blue Devil fielding error to make it a 1-0 game.
Central Connecticut knotted the game in the next half inning, touching up relief pitcher Nicole Sidor (North Vancouver, BC) in her only inning of work. Kat Knowles reached on a one out double of her own and scored two batters later on an Erin Koheler bloop single down the left field line. That would be the only run of the day for CCSU as Russell no hit the Blue Devils in her seven innings of scoreless relief.
Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA) led off the SHU fifth inning with a walk. The Pioneers rally would stall out with the help of a bad bounce. Fitzsimon smashed a ball to the right of a diving second baseman that would carom off her glove and to the short stop waiting at second base for the force out. The Pioneers would load the bases in both the sixth and tenth innings but could not push across the game winning run.
Sacred Heart started the 11th inning with a runner placed on second and the top of the order due up. Froelich bluffed a bunt and slapped a ground ball into the perfect spot on the left side of the infield for a single. After Garza drew another walk the Pioneers had the exact scenario they failed to convert on in the previous inning, bases loaded with none out. Fitzsimon again smashed a ball but it was right at the second baseman who got the ball home in time to cut down Rudloff at the plate.
In the end the Pioneers didn't need to find a game winning hit as a passed ball on the next batter would allow Froelich to scamper home to secure a 2-1 win for Sacred Heart. Central Connecticut starter Abby Harpp was the tough luck loser tossing 10.1 innings while not allowing one earned run and striking out five.
The Pioneers return to action at home Wednesday, April 9 as they take on Dartmouth from the Ivy League. Opening game of the double header is set for 3:00 pm.