The Ithaca College softball team returned to the field for another double-header against Empire 8 foe, the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks. The Bombers, who would be celebrating their Senior Day in the second game, entered the game leading the first Northeast Regional Softball Rankings poll which were released April 21.
The Bombers ran into some early trouble in the first game, as the Ducks quickly loaded the bases. The tough situation didn’t rattle senior pitcher Laura Quicker, who escaped the jam with back-to-back strikeouts. In the bottom of the first, the Bombers picked up three runs on six hits.
Stevens would scratch one run back in the top of the second after junior catcher Amanda DiLeo skied a sac-fly to right field, scoring junior left fielder Jessica Rees from third.
With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the third, Quicker forced two ground-balls, both of which resulted in force-outs at home. Quicker would allow one walk and narrowed the score to 3–2.
With the bases loaded once again in the following inning, sophomore second baseman Lauren Shirley took the first pitch she saw from Quicker and unloaded, slamming it off the flagpole in left center for a grand slam. In the bottom of the inning, the Bombers picked up seven hits and scored seven runs, reclaiming the lead 10–6.
Stevens continued to make noise in their half of the fifth, picking up two more tallies off the bat of DiLeo and sophomore right fielder Farryl Groder, who singled and doubled respectively. In the top of the sixth, the Ducks completed the comeback. Shirley launched her second homer of the day to start the frame and junior third baseman Emily Sellitti would trot home on a bases loaded walk to tie the contest at 10 all. The South Hill squad would regain the lead, 11–10 after freshman pinch runner Samantha Velez, who ran for senior center fielder Erin McQuillan, trotted home on a bases loaded walk. That would prove to be the winning run as the Bombers held on, 11–10.
The Bombers generated some offense right away in game two. Freshman second baseman Nikkey Skuraton and senior first baseman Casey Gavin drew walks and then scored on a triple by senior catcher Kelly Robichaud to give the Bombers an early 2–0 advantage. In the bottom of the third, the Bombers extended their lead with a three-run home run from Robichaud. After three innings, the score was 6–0 Bombers.
In the bottom of the fifth, Robichaud ripped a double to the right-center wall, scoring Gavin and making it 7–0 Bombers. Immediately after, freshman designated hitter Alex Wright laced a triple of her own, sending in the game-ending run, making it 8–0 Bombers.
Head coach Deb Pallozzi was happy to pick up two wins on Senior Day, but emphasized the importance of those two wins coming against a conference opponent.
“It comes down to our two games against Fisher for the right to host the Empire 8 tournament, so today means two big conference wins.” Pallozzi said. “But it’s always nice to win on Senior Day, because in the past we’ve kinda messed up on days like these and it makes it not quite as celebratory.”
Gavin, who finished the day with five runs, said these next couple of games are just as important as today.
“We needed to remind ourselves that this wasn’t just about the seniors.” Gavin said. “We’re also fighting to host, as coach Pallozzi said, so we wanted to come out strong and take a big step toward that goal.”
At the end of the day, it was Robichaud who turned in the most impressive day at the plate by far. She collected six hits and eight RBIs, and said a lot of the credit goes to her teammates.
“I just went up there looking to get a base hit.” Robichaud said. “My teammates got on in front of me, so I was able to move them over.”
The Bombers are riding a 10-game winning streak into its next matchup against St. John Fisher College on April 24. First pitch in game one of two in Rochester will be at 1 p.m.