ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Brandeis University softball team split a pair of eight-run-rule games today on the opening day of the 2016 University Athletic Association tournament in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Judges fell in six innings to Washington University, the No. 3 team in Division III, 10-2, in their UAA opener, but bounced back to defeat the University of Rochester, 10-1, in five frames. The Judges are now 3-4 overall, 1-1 in the UAA. The win over Rochester was the first conference victory for new head coach Danielle DelPonte.
AGAINST WASHINGTON U.
- The Bears plated single runs in the first three innings, including solo home runs by 3B Hera Tang in the first and LF Hannah Mehrle in the third.
- Brandeis cut the lead to one at 3-2 in the bottom of the third on a two-out, two-run double by senior 3B Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H./Dover).
- Both teams went in order in the fourth, but WashU exploded for six runs – four of which were unearned - in the top of the fifth. The big blow was the Bears' third round-tripper of the game, a two-run shot by catcher Halle Steinberg.
- WashU reached the eight-run margin in the top of the sixth on a double-steal.
- Brandeis senior catcher Danielle Novotny (Milford, N.J. / Delaware Valley) finished with two hits and a stolen base.
- Junior Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass. / Somerset Berkley Regional) suffered the loss in the circle, throwing 4.2 innings and giving up nine hits and nine runs (five earned). She falls to 1-2 on the season.
- Washington's Annie Pitkin struck out eight and allowed six hits and two unearned runs in six innings of work to improve to 6-0.
- Rochester opened the scoring in the top of the second on a bases-loaded walk with no outs, but Brandeis sophomore Sadie-Rose Apfel (Stamford, Conn./Westhill) avoided further trouble with a force at home, a strikeout and a force at third.
- The Judges exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the frame, sending 13 hitters to the plate. Big blows in the inning were a two-run single by Novotny that drove in what proved to be the winning runs, and two-run doubles by Sullivan and sophomore CF Amanda Shore (San Jose, Calif. / Archbishop Mitty).
- The Yellowjackets loaded the bases again in the third, but Apfel got out of the jam with a liner to right field.
- Brandeis added single runs in the fourth on an error and in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk to junior LF Leah Shapiro (Beverly Hills, Calif./Beverly Hills).
- Soleimani pitched the final two innings, allowing just one hit with a strikeout, to secure the win for Apfel (3.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 K, 2 BB), who improved to 2-1 on the season.
- Junior LF Madison Hunter (Parker, Colo./Legend) led the team at the plate, going 3-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
- The Judges meet NYU and Case Western Reserve University tomorrow at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Day 2 of the UAA tournament.
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