RPI rallies for extra-innings softball win, sweeps Saints
Monday, April 14, 2014 - 8:36 am

RPI came from behind in the second game of a Sunday doubleheader and eventually prevailed in extra innings en route to a sweep of St. Lawrence softball in Troy, N.Y.

The Engineers (12-8, 3-1) easily handled the Saints (5-13, 0-6), 6-1, in the first game, and overcame a two-run deficit and notched three runs in the top of the eighth inning to win the second, 5-3.

After a shaky performance in game two at Union on Saturday, first-year pitcher Hannah Sears was impressive in the circle for the Saints as she got the nod in the first game against the Engineers.

The Engineers took a 1-0 in the lead in the first inning when Tori Hunt came around to score on a single to second base by Taylor Ten Eyck. The Saints' Cailyn Welsh fielded the ball cleanly, but couldn't beat Jena Servidone – who had reached on an error - to the bag for the force. The subsequent throw to home was high and Hunt slid safely under the tag of Nicole Matthews for the score.

The Saints threatened in the second after Leslie Stratton hustled down the line and beat out a throw from Hunt at short for an infield single. Matthews followed with a walk and two put two aboard with Sears coming to bat. The Copake, N.Y. native singled up the middle to shallow center, giving RPI's Morgan Kollmeier a play on the speedy Stratton who was coming to the plate. The throw was high, but Taylor Ten Eyck was able to get a tag down in time to prevent the Saints from tying the game.

But St. Lawrence would finally find an answer in the bottom of the fourth, as Aisha O'Connor led off the inning with a fly ball and an error by RPI right-fielder Morgan Ten Eyck that allowed the Pembroke, Ontario native to advance to second. A sac bunt by Becky Allen pushed O'Connor to third and Stratton followed with bunt of her own down the first baseline. Courtney McArthur fielded the ball and looked to home, but O'Connor had gotten a good jump and beat a play to the plate to pull the score even at 1-1.

After both teams were retired in order in the fifth, Hunt got things going for RPI in the sixth with a triple down the right field line. Natasha Bell made a long run to make a play, but saw the ball drop under her outstretched glove and roll to the wall. Hunt hit the dirt rounding first and there was some discussion as to whether she should be granted home on an interference call, but nothing came about and she held tight at third.

Servidone stepped to the plate and blooped a single right behind second base to score Hunt and retake the lead for the Engineers 2-1. A line drive single for Taylor TenEyck into left field put two aboard with one out before her sister, Morgan, was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Then it was Jocilyn Rudisill who dropped a ball into shallow center to plate Servidone and increase the RPI lead to two runs. McArthur followed with a sac fly to left field that brought Taylor TenEyck home to push it to 4-1.

St. Lawrence would threaten again in the sixth as Becky Allen got things going with a double that split the outfielders and skipped to the base of the wall in left center. Matthews then stepped to the plate with two out and sent a scorcher through the infield just out of Hunt's reach to advance Allen to third. With runners on the corners, Sears grounded out to second to end the inning as RPI escaped unscathed.

Already leading 4-1, the Engineers added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh as Hunt ripped her second triple of the game, scoring Kollmeier who led off the inning with a single to right center. With Servidone at the plate, Hunt came home to score on a wild pitch for RPI's sixth run.

Weltzin retired the Saints in order in the bottom half of the inning to hold on for the 6-1 win.

Sears finished with eight strikeouts in the loss. The heart of the Saints order accounted for all four hits in game one.

In game two, St. Lawrence jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second that began with a walk to Sears. Allen then bunted up the middle and although Weltzin was able to field the ball cleanly, her attempt to throw out pinch-runner Sumra Sikandar out at second ended up in center field. Sikandar didn't miss a step and advanced to third on the play.

Next up was Leslie Stratton, who also laid down a bunt, but didn't push it far enough in front of the plate allowing Weltzin to make an easy play to throw Sikandar out at home.

With first-year Carly Dziekan at the plate, Stratton stole second to put two runners in scoring position for St. Lawrence. Dziekan singled down the first base line, scoring both Allen and Stratton to give the Saints a 2-0 lead heading into the third inning.

RPI chipped away one run at time, scoring one in the fifth and one in the sixth to pull even and force extra innings. In the fifth inning, Kathleen Baker scored on a passed ball by the Saints' Nicole Matthews. And then Hunt – who had a monster day for the Engineers – drove in Danielle Balestrini with a sacrifice fly to left in the sixth for the game-tying run.

The Engineers wasted no time in the eighth inning to get the bats going, plating three runs early and forcing junior Kyle Plimpton out of the game.

Kollmeier led things off with a single and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Hunt. Consecutive doubles by Servidone and Taylor Ten Eyck brought home two RPI runs, and then a single by Rudisill plated the third run of the inning, giving RPI a 5-2 lead. Sears came on in relief and worked out of the jam without allowing any more runs, despite inheriting two base runners.

In the bottom portion of the extra frame Becky Allen led off with a perfectly-placed double to right center field and would advance to third on a ground out by Stratton. After Cailyn Welsh struck out swinging, Dziekan was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with two down.

Brady Cooper then recorded an infield single to load the bases for senior Natasha Bell who added an infield single of her own and plated Allen to cut the RPI lead to two at 5-3. But that would be all the Saints would put across, as they left three aboard to end the game.

Plimpton, who started game two for St. Lawrence, racked up six strikeouts while allowing nine hits and five earned runs in the loss. Victoria Hepworth came in in relief of Weltzin in the fourth inning and earned the win for the Engineers. She struck out five on the afternoon.