The St. Lawrence University softball team's offense struggled for 16 innings on Monday afternoon, as Elmira College appeared headed for a doubleheader sweep. However, Cailyn Welsh led off the bottom of the seventh with her first homerun of the season to tie the game at 1-1, and the Saints pushed three runs across in the eighth to earn a split with the Soaring Eagles behind a 4-1 win in eight innings after a 1-0 loss in nine to open the day.
Kyle Plimpton pitched both extra-inning games for St. Lawrence, allowing just two earned runs including one with a runner placed on second. The split moves St. Lawrence to 9-17, while Elmira is now 8-12 on the season.
The opening game proved to be a pitcher's duel between Plimpton and Alex Puglisi, as both were sharp throughout the contest. The Saints had a chance to take the lead with runners on second and third with only one out in the fourth, but Puglisi got Hannah Sears and Leslie Stratton to end the inning unscathed.
The Soaring Eagles had their best chance to take the lead in regulation in the bottom of the fifth, as Gillian Gravel got to third base only to see Krystal Bupp strike out swinging to end the threat. Elmira then loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth but Plimpton again buckled down and got Emily Carlin swinging to keep the game scoreless.
St. Lawrence's Brady Cooper moved the placed runner Kelly Burke to third in the top of the ninth, but the visitors failed to push the run across. Elmira finally capitalized with a clutch hit, as Megan Anderson laced a single up the middle to score Julianne Heggie to give the Soaring Eagles the walk-off 1-0 win.
Plimpton suffered the loss despite allowing just three hits over 8.1 innings with eight strikeouts. Puglisi earned the victory after allowing just one hit to Rebecca Allen in the game.
In the second half of the doubleheader, Anderson opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with an RBI single to plate Katie Dore for the 1-0 lead. Though Plimpton did well to get out of the inning, retiring Ashley Palmer and Katie Day with runners on second and third, the Soaring Eagles had the coveted lead.
Elmira appeared poised to blank St. Lawrence in the doubleheader, as Emilie Rogers cruised into the top of the seventh with the 1-0 lead intact. However, Welsh had other ideas, as her blast to right-center tied the score at 1-1 and ended the Saints' 23-inning scoreless streak to help them force extra innings.
With Plimpton sharp in the bottom of the seventh, St. Lawrence scored three times in the top of the eighth to take a 4-1 lead. Allen drilled a one-out RBI double to put the visitors on top 2-1, and after a walk by Sears, Stratton and Welsh delivered RBI's to give the Saints insurance up 4-1. Stratton doubled to left center, while Welsh fouled out to left but managed to push a run across. The three runs were plenty for Plimpton, who worked an efficient bottom half to pick up the win and earn the non-conference split allowing just one run on four hits. Rogers suffered the tough loss, scattering seven hits while striking out eight.
St. Lawrence will be in action again on Wednesday, April 23 when the team hosts North Country foe Plattsburgh State for a doubleheader beginning at 3:00pm.