The softball team battled the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers in a doubleheader that featured two seventh-inning comebacks today on Kostrinksy Field.
The Bombers (7—5) won the first game 8-7 and the Engineers (6—7) took the second game 9-7.
In the first game, sophomore outfielder Rachel Dell’Orto’s sacrifice fly and an error by RPI third baseman Dani Grage gave the Bombers an early 3-0 lead in the second inning. No more runs were scored until the top of the fifth when RPI left fielder Jocilyn Rudisill hit a 2-RBI double. The Engineers added another two runs in the inning to take the lead 4-3. An early throwing error in the top of the seventh also led to RPI scoring an additional three runs and extending the lead to 7-3.
Freshmen infielder Maggie Maurice’s solo homerun set the stage for a Bomber rally. RPI pulled starting pitcher Charlene Osmanski and sent in freshmen relief pitcher Kristina Weltzin to close the game. Weltzin got the second out after a fielder’s choice, but then junior third baseman Molly O’Donnell hit a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence to tie the game at 7-7.
“I thought this was the type of game we were going to have today because we knew their pitching was not going to hold our bats down all game,” Head Coach Deb Pallozzi said.
Winning pitcher sophomore Julian Olmstead shut down the Engineers in the top of the eighth inning, and for a moment it appeared the game was going to a ninth inning. With freshmen shortstop Francesca Busa on second, Dell’Orto hit a single into center field, but Busa was thrown out at home plate. After a protest by Pallozzi, the umpires determined that Busa was interfered with and therefore, the Bombers were awarded the run giving them the victory.
After a thrilling game one, the Bombers starting hitting early as they took a 6-0 lead in game two after two innings of play. RPI’s pitcher Weltzin loaded the bases with singles by junior catcher Lindsey Johnson and junior outfielder Adrienne Walters and a walk to Dell’Orto. Sophomore second baseman Julian Vincent and O’Donnell both hit doubles to left, knocking in two RBIs each.
Despite giving up six runs after the blown save in game one, the Engineers and Head Coach Amber Maisonet decided to stick with Weltzin on the pitching circle.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, but we stuck with her and she was able to settle down and keep us in the game,” Maisonet said.
The Engineers immediately responded by scoring five runs in the third inning. A Grage single, followed by a hit batter and a single, left the bases load for RPI to start the inning. Senior catcher Sarah Heller knocked in a run on a single, and Olmstead walked in a run. Osmanski then hit a two-RBI single to center field, taking Olmstead out of the game.
“Jill wasn’t hitting her spots, and we didn’t do a good job of stopping (RPI’s) momentum,” Pallozzi said.
After trading runs in the fourth and fifth innings, the Blue and Gold led 7-6 going into the top of the seventh. After singles by Rudisill and Heller, RPI junior first baseman Gillian McCarthy took sophomore Sam Bender’s 1-1 pitch deep to left field. clearing the bases on a home run and giving the Engineers a 9-6 lead. The Bombers would not recover, as they could not produce another rally.
The South Hill squad looks to regroup as they enter Empire 8 competition next Saturday with a doubleheader against Stevens Institute of Technology at 1 p.m. on Kostrinsky Field.
“I think we need to get back to Bomber softball, and start playing our own game,” Bender said.