February 22, 2013

Softball rallies past Union, 8-7, in eight innings

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. -- The Brandeis University softball team rallied from a six-run deficit to defeat Union College, 8-7, in eight innings today at the Adirondack Sports Complex today. Sophomore CF Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) guided the Judges to 3-0 on the season by scoring the game-tying run in the seventh and driving in the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth. 

Brandeis had base runners in every inning, but scored only one run in the first five frames on a second-inning solo home run by sophomore starting pitcher Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joseph's). It was the first round tripper of her career. 

Union scored solo runs in the first - on a lead-off triple by 2B Lindsay Cohen, who came home on an error on the first play of the game - and a fourth-inning sacrifice fly by LF Danni Hennel. The Dutchwomen looked to blow thhe game open in the fifth, when they sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs. The big blows were a three-run home run by 1B Samantha Chevalier followed immediately by a solo shot from catcher Joanna Chalifoux that knocked Cote from the game. Senior Casey Ducinski (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) came on and allowed four straight base-runners and the fifth run of the inning, but settled down to not allow a run the rest of the way, stranding runners on third in the sixth and eighth.

Meanwhile the Judges started a comeback in the fifth, when rookie 2B Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake) had an RBI double. She scored two batters later on Kamber's first RBI of the game, making it 7-3. Brandeis got within one in the sixth on an RBI double by sophomore RF Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) followed by a two-run home run Gagnon, also the first of her career.

Trailing 7-6 headed into the seventh, Kamber led off with a single. After UC's Alyssa Wolejko retired the next two hitters to get Brandeis to their last out, Cote came through with a clutch single to left field. An error in the outfield allowed Kamber to score all the way from first and send the game into extra innings. 

In the eighth, Ducinski stranded the tiebreaker runner at third after a sacrifice bunt, a comebacker to the circle and a lineout to right field. In the bottom of the frame, Brandeis bunted the winning run to third to start the inning. Union elected to walk Genovese and Gagnon to load the bases. The Dutchwomen got the second out on a fly ball to left, but Kamber won the game with a walk-off single to third base. 

Brandeis pounded out 11 hits in the game, three each from Genovese and Kamber and two for Gagnon and Cote. Gagnon reached base safely in four of her at-bats, drawing two walks, and had two of the Judges' four extra-base hits with her double and homer. She finished with three RBI. Cote threw 4.1 innings and allowed seven hits and six runs (four earned), striking out four and walking three. Ducinski earned the win with 3.2 innings of relief, allowing just one earned run on four hits and three walks. Chevalier (3-5, 3 RBI, HR) was the top hitter for Union.

Brandeis returns to action in March when they play in Florida against Salve Regina and Haverford before playing in the UAA tournament.