Header Background

Softball wins thriller in extra innings, splits in Florida

Co-captain Stacia Saniuk '09 sent game two into extra innings with an RBI double.

CLAREMONT, Fla. -- The Bates College softball team opened up the 2009 season at the National Training Center Tournament in Claremont, Florida today. The Bobcats played a double-header, dropping the first game 5-2 to the No. 17 nationally-ranked Ithaca College Bombers, before winning 5-4 in eight innings over Penn State-Behrend.

Rookie outfielder Karen Ullmann stole the show for Bates, going 6-8 on the day, 3-4 in each game.

In game one, Bates got on the board early with Ullmann (Ramsey, N.J.) making an immediate impact in her first collegiate game. After a leadoff single, Ullmann advanced to second and third on two passed balls and touched home for the first run of the game on an error by the Bombers shortstop.

After a scoreless second inning, Ithaca would get on the board with two runs in the third to take the lead 2-1. Again both teams held strong on defense through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings until Ithaca tacked on three runs in the top of the seventh. Bates did not go quietly, rallying to close the gap by a run when Ullmann's third hit of the day, a single, scored first-year infielder Kelly McManus (Plymouth, N.H.) to make the score 5-2.

Bobcats first-year pitcher Kristen Finn (Winthrop, Mass.) carried a four-hitter into the sixth inning and pitched a complete game in an impressive performance in her first collegiate appearance.

Ithaca pitcher Brooke Kithcart also pitched a complete game and received the win. Utility player Kait Dolan led the Bombers going 2-3 and scoring a run. Ithaca shortstop Annmarie Forenza also scored two runs in the game.

In game two, the Bobcats faced the Penn State Behrend Lions and claimed an impressive extra inning victory to even their early season record at 1-1. The victory saw the emergence of quite a few talented rookies for the Bobcats.

Ullmann would again lead the Bobcats, going 3-4 including the game winning hit in the eighth inning. However, Penn State would strike first scoring a run in the first inning to take an early lead. Bates would answer in the second with three runs to take a 3-1 advantage. This one would continue to go back and forth with the Lions regaining the lead with three runs in the fourth inning to put them up 4-3. The game stayed locked at 4-3 until the seventh and final inning. Bates sophomore pitcher Sarah Cullen (Dover, Mass.) pitched five and two-thirds innings giving up four runs, two earned.

Again Bates would make some noise in the final inning and this time they would extend the game. Ullmann started the rally with a single for the Bobcats. Fellow rookie outfielder Vanessa Truglio (New Britain, Conn.) stepped to the plate and executed a sacrifice bunt to move Ullmann into scoring position at second base. The stage was set for senior co-captain, and returning NESCAC First Team player Stacia Saniuk to close the gap. Saniuk would do just that smashing a double off the top of the fence, merely two inches from being a walk-off homerun, to score Ullmann making it 4-4. Saniuk (Sharon, Mass.) went 2-4 in the game.

Bates was unable to score any more runs in the seventh and the game went into extra innings. A tie-breaker rule in college softball calling for the last out of the previous inning to be placed at second base was put into play, but the Bates defense held strong. Senior co-captain Christina Knoble (Walpole, Mass.) was impressive down the stretch pitching two and a third innings allowing no runs and striking out one, earning the win.

McIntyre '10 moved the game winning run into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.

When Bates came to the plate in the eighth, rookie Lauren Dobish (Chambersburg, Pa.) was placed at second base, as she was the last out of the seventh inning. McManus reached first on a fielder's choice and Dobish was called out on the play. Junior Jean McIntyre (Marshfield, Mass.) would then put down a sacrifice bunt and move McManus into scoring position at second base. With two outs in the inning, Ullmann ripped the a single into left field scoring McManus to win the game for the Bobcats.

McIntyre went 1-2 with an RBI while Dobish went 1-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Rookie Kelsey Flaherty (South Portland, Maine) earned two walks scored a run in the game and first-year Leah Maciejewski (Tewksbury, Mass.) went 1-3 with a run scored.

Bates plays Suffolk University and The College of New Jersey at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. respectively Saturday, March 14. The Bobcats finish their Florida trip with two games on Sunday, March 15 against Indiana Tech and Morrisville State at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

STATS: Ithaca 5, Bates 2

STATS: Bates 5, Penn State-Behrend 4