Fairfield, CT – The SHU softball team defeated a surging Stony Brook Seawolves squad, 8-7, Wednesday afternoon at Pioneer Park. Carley Rudloff (Queen Creek, AZ) blasted a go-ahead three-run homer in the fourth inning, her first long ball of 2012. The Pioneers have now won back-to-back non-conference contests and snapped the Seawolves five game unbeaten streak.
Stony Brook (33-12-1) filled the bases without the benefit of a hit in the top of the second inning following back-to-back batters being hit by a pitch as well as drawing a walk. Nicole Hagerty cleared the bases with a double into left center field to make it 3-0. However, she was gunned down at third trying to stretch her hit into a triple by a strong relay throw from senior shortstop Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA).
Sacred Heart (19-30) chipped into the deficit with an opposite field homerun off the bat of Annie Dreher (Saugus, CA) in the bottom of the second. The Pioneers began to find their stride in the fourth frame against the Stony Brook ace, Allison Cukrov, who entered the contest with a 20-5 record as well as 1.09 ERA. Kate Nadler (Southbury, CT) singled to left to start the inning while Dreher was hit by a pitch. Rudloff launched a 3-2 offering over the right field wall to jump SHU into the lead, 4-3.
The Pioneers benefited from some incoming rain as Cukrov had trouble with her command. Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) was hit by a pitch and Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD) as well as Nadler both drew walks to load the bases with no outs. Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) picked up a RBI by working a fourth consecutive free pass to extend the Sacred Heart advantage to 5-3. The Seawolves brought in Christine Lucido from the bullpen but the weather worsened during her warm-up tosses and forced a 45 minute delay.
Rudloff placed a RBI single down the left field line when play resumed and Nikki Surkes (Brightwaters, NY) followed suit with a run scoring hit into center field as SHU built a 7-3 edge. Melissa Tobin (Hudson, MA) ended the rally with an infield single as Tsipouras took away the defense's only play by sliding in safely at home to make it 8-3.
Stony Brook began a comeback rally in the sixth as three straight hitters found their way on base with one out, including a RBI single from Lauren Kamachi. Taylor Lane (Lisbon, CT) replaced Sidor in the circle but a pair of SHU errors would allow the visitors to close the gap to 8-7. Lane escaped the inning by inducing a ground out with the tying run just sixty feet away.
Tsipouras came on for the Pioneers in the seventh and after the first batter reached base the tall righty recorded back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out to pick her first save of 2012. Sidor earned her 14th win of the season after 5.1 innings of work.
The rain delay would cancel the second game of the scheduled double header.
The SHU softball team returns to action this Saturday for the NEC regular season finale against Bryant. First pitch is set for 1:00 pm and will be preceded by senior day ceremonies that will honor the Pioneers four graduating players.