Big sixth inning pushes softball past Salve Regina, 8-4

Casey Ducinski '13 (photo by Sportspix.biz/Jan Volk)

CLERMONT, Fla. -- The Brandeis softball team batted around in the top of the sixth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie, and the Judges went on to defeat Salve Regina, 8-4, in a non-conference contest at the National Training Center in Florida. The Judges move to 4-0 with the win, while the Seahawks drop their season opener and fall to 0-1. 

Salve scored first on an unearned run in the third inning without benefit of a hit.  SRU pitcher Jen Cruver walked to lead off the inning and moved to third when 3B Marissa Simpson reached safely on an error. After Brandeis sophomore Nikki Cote (Shelton, Conn./St. Joseph's) induced a comebacker to the mound for the first out, Seahawk shortstop Ali Muehlbronner drove a deep fly to right field to open the scoring. Cote got a strikeout to end the inning and strand Simpson on third base. 

The Judges answered in the top of the fourth, when sophomore Anya Kamber (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) led off with a double. Cruver held Kamber at second for the next two batters, but after issuing a walk, she surrendered the tying hit to sophomore catcher Cori Coleman (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South). Cruver issued another walk to load the bases, but escaped more trouble until the decisive sixth, when her wildness would benefit Brandeis again.

With one away in the sixth, the Judges loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Senior DP Casey Ducinski (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) singled to snap the 1-1 tie. Sophomore RF Amanda Genovese (North Haven, Conn./North Haven) knocked in another run with her third infiekd hit of the game and rookie LF Danielle Novotny (Milford, N.J./Delaware Valley) followed with a two-run hit of her own. Genovese and Novotny executed a double steal, putting both in scoring position and allowing the Judges' lead-off hitter to score on a sacrifice fly by rookie 2B Madison Gagnon (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake)

Brandeis took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth, but Salve got three runs back. Muehlbronner led off with a triple, and 1B Jillian Quintana followed with a home run that made it a 6-3 game. Cote issued a walk that would come around to score on an RBI single by Cruver that got SRU within 6-4, but Cote stranded a run in scoring position with a called third strike to end the inning. The Judges added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh on a cluctch two-out triple by Ducinski. Cote allowed a pair of baserunners in the bottom of the seventh, but recorded her seventh strikeout of the game to end the game.

Offensively, Genovese at the top of the lineup and Ducinski in the nine-hole were the top performers for Brandeis. Genovese went 3-5 with a run scored, an RBI and two stolen bases. Ducinski was 2-3 with a team-high three RBI, a run scored and a triple. Cote tossed her second complete game of the season, allowing six hits and four runs (three earned). She worked around five walks and struck out seven to improve to 2-0 on the season. 

Muehlbronner led Salve Regina with three of her team's six hits, a sac fly, a run scored and an RBI. Quintana's homer gave her two RBI for the Seahawks. Cruver allowed 10 hits and eight earned runs. She also walked seven, hit a batter and had just one strikeout. 

Brandeis returns to action tomorrow with a non-conference game with Haverford at the NTC, followed by the UAA tournament the rest of the week.