Softball Wins 5-2 in Nine Innings, Advances to Regional Championship

Softball Wins 5-2 in Nine Innings, Advances to Regional Championship

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Bridgewater State earned its second NCAA Tournament victory in the past two days, defeating Saint Joseph's College, 5-2 in nine innings, in the third game of the 2014 NCAA Division III Softball Wellesley Regional.

The Bears move to 31-12 on the season, advancing to tomorrow's championship round at noon afainst host Wellesley College.  Wellesley (29-10) blanked Saint Joseph's (34-6), 6-0, in the second elimination game later on Saturday afternoon.

After allowing two runs in the first inning, BSU right-hander Amber White shut down the Monks the rest of the way.  White, who allowed just three hits over the final eighth innings, improved to 24-3 on the season with her tenth straight win.  She fanned five and scattered six hits in the complete game, nine-inning effort.

Offensively, the Bears were paced by a 3-for-5 day from Jill Welch, who drove in a pair of runs. Courtney Leddy collected two hits including the go-ahead RBI double in the win.  Kelly McCarthy also drove in a pair of runs with big game-tying two-run homer.

Saint Joseph's offense was led by Kim Jordan, who went 2-for-4 on the day, and Lindsay Moore and Theresa Hendrix both drove in runs for the Monks. Starting pitcher Rae-Marie Copan allowed seven hits in seven innings while striking out three and not walking a batter, exiting without a decision. Danielle Egan (3-1) took the loss for Saint Joseph's after coming on in relief in the eighth inning, giving up two hits and three runs with a strikeout and a walk in two innings of work.

Saint Joseph's struck first, with leadoff hitter Jordan singling to center field on the first pitch she saw, and then coming home on an RBI double by Moore two batters later.  With two outs, Hendrix singled up the middle to bring Moore home, making it 2-0 Monks.

From that point on, White dominated as she did not allow a ball out of the infield the rest of the game.  She retired 17 of the next 19 batters she faced, and 25 of the final 29.  White would give up just three infield singles and a walk over the final eight innings.

The teams traded zeroes until the top of the fifth inning, when Samantha LoPilato led off with a sharp single before advancing to second on a passed ball and then to third on a sacrifice bunt by Karissa Pagan.  Kelly McCarthy then sent an 0-1 pitch over the fence in left-center field to tie the score at 2-2 with one out.  The home run marked McCarthy's third of the season and third in the last four games.

The Bears continued to threaten, putting two more runners on base before collecting another out, but the threat was quashed by a spectacular throw from left-fielder Carla Tripp who threw out Leddy at home to end the inning as she attempted to score from second base on a hard hit ball from Tara McCann.

The Monks had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh, putting two runners on base as Jennifer Murphy walked and Tripp singled with two outs, but Jordan grounded out to end the threat and send the game to extra innings.

In the top of the ninth, LoPilato led off with a walk for the Bears before advancing into scoring position on a wild pitch by Egan. McCarthy reached on a fielder's choice, but pinch runner Breanna Shaffer was safe at third. Leddy then laced a double to left field to bring home Shaffer with the go ahead run and put Bridgewater up 3-2.  Welch followed with a single into short center field to bring home two more runs and increase the BSU advantage to 5-2. White pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to end the game.

Notes: White's 24 wins are second only to Tammy Webber's BSU single-season mark of 32 set in 1998….Her 153 strikeouts on the year is the highest single-season total since Betsy Ahearn fanned a school-record 190 batters in 2002.