Information in this story comes courtesy of the Fredonia Sports Information Department
CORTLAND, N.Y. - The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Game of the Week comes from the Fredonia softball team's match against the Ursinus Bears on Monday, March 11. After surrendering their lead in the sixth inning, the Blue Devils managed to scrap together a comeback victory in walk-off fashion.
Ursinus struck first in the top of the first, compiling a double followed by a triple with two outs, which gave them an early 2-0 lead. However, Fredonia quickly answered back with some run production of their own in the bottom half of the inning, posting three runs. Rhianna Paoletti walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sydney Merkley, and scored when Katie Yudin lined the first pitch she saw past the right-fielder. Megan Maull then bounced a single between first and second to score Yudin for a 2-2 tie. Three straight walks resulted in the third run, with Marisa Sultana picking up an RBI with a bases-loaded free pass.
Fredonia would tack on another after Sultana hit an RBI triple, in the bottom of the third, giving the team a 4-2 lead over Ursinus. Sam Seegar, who started the game for the Blue Devils, began to settle in after the shaky first inning. After allowing three hits in the first, Seegar only scattered three hits in the next four frames, allowing Fredonia to maintain their 4-2 lead heading into the sixth. However, it was the sixth inning where the Bears' bats would come alive again.
A pair of singles followed by a walk loaded the bases for Ursinus. The next batter for the Bears knocked in a run with an RBI single, prompting the Blue Devils to send Maria Caviris in relief. A throwing error and a fielding error from the Blue Devils infield allowed Ursinus to tack on four runs, giving them a 6-4 lead through six-and-a-half innings.
Fredonia cut the deficit to 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth. Ursinus left-fielder Gab Manto made a diving catch of a liner off the bat of pinch-hitter Eva FitzSimmons. The end result was a double play – and a sacrifice fly – when the runner at third scored but the runner trying to advance to third was thrown out.
Ursinus doubled to start off the seventh, while the next batter reached first base from a fielding error at shortstop, giving the Bears runners on first and third with nobody out. The next batter would line out to second, but Ursinus would load the bases after a walk. Despite finding herself in danger, Fredonia reliever Maddy O'Heir managed to get out of the inning without surrendering a run. Third baseman Cassie Herman turned an unassisted double play. With runners on second and third, she fielded a hard bouncer in front of the bag, tagged the runner heading to home, pivoted back, and tagged the runner coming to third.
Looking to make a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, Fredonia found themselves in a good position after Maull lead things off with a double. A sacrifice bunt would then allow Maull to get to third base, giving the Blue Devils a prime opportunity to tie the game. Fredonia would be able to do so, capitalizing on some costly blunders by the Bears. A muffled throw by first base allowed Jules Vassallo reached first; she then reached second from a throwing error, while Maull scored, with the game tied 6-6. With a runner in scoring position, Fredonia now had a chance to win the game. After the next batter flew out to center field, Sultana entered the batter's box with two outs, and came through with a walk-off RBI single, allowing Vassallo to score. The Blue Devils won the game, 7-6.
Player of the Game: Marisa Sultana provided the most offensive production for Fredonia. In the first inning, she walked with the bases loaded, while later hitting an RBI triple, and in the seventh, coming through in heroic fashion with a walk-off single. She finished the day 2 for 3 with 3 RBI.
What's next: The Blue Devils return to SUNYAC competition when they play host to Buffalo State on March 30 in a doubleheader starting at noon.