MAHWAH – Junior first baseman Katie Yard singled home senior Allison Thibault with the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning, as the Kean University softball team defeated Ramapo College, 2-1, to open the New Jersey Athletic Confernece tournament on Tuesday afternoon.
It was the third one-run game between the two teams in the last six days, as the Cougars avenged a pair of one-run losses to the Roadrunners during the final week of the regular season on April 29. It was also the second straight extra inning game between Ramapo and Kean, as the Roadrunners won 1-0 in eight inning to earn the sweep.
The fifth seeded Cougars (26-14) advance to play second-seeded Rowan University in the winner’s bracket on Friday, May 7, at 3 p.m., at top-seeded The College of New Jersey. The second-seeded Roadrunners (27-14) will face the #1 Lions in an elimination game Friday morning.
Trailing 1-0 entering the top of the seventh inning, the Cougars tied the game in the top of the seventh inning on a RBI single by sophomore shortstop Alicia Banz.
Senior right-hander Cassie Shotwell had a one-out single up the middle and rookie third baseman Courtney Melchionna dropped a single in between a colliding left fielder Rachel Wong and sophomore shortstop Tiffany Fischer to put runners on first and second as pinch runner Kelsey Hannon beat the throw to second base on the force out attempt.
After freshman second baseman Katie Zolli had a fly ball to left center, Banz had the run-scoring single with Hannon scored from the second base as the throw home sailed high to tie the game.
Senior Allison Thibault opened the next inning with her second perfectly placed slap just behind the pitcher for the infield single and would advance to second when the ball was thrown away. Junior centerfielder Lindsay Kennedy advanced Thibault to third base with the sacrifice bunt and after a fielder’s choice by senior Allison Lizzi put runners on the corners, Yard followed with the single up the middle to drive in Thibault with the game-winning run.
The Roadrunners took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when catcher Stephanie Malgeri reach on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second base on a passed ball and scored when Fischer dropped a single in to right field.
After suffering the tough 1-0 loss a week ago against the Roadrunners, Shotwell (14-6) held Ramapo to just four hits and recorded seven strikeouts, while only allowing an unearned run.
Shotwell helped out her own cause going 2-of-3 at the plate, while Yard and Thibault were each 2-of-4.
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