ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Brandeis University softball team earned a pair of victories on the second day of action at the 2016 University Athletic Association tournament today. The Judges opened with a 7-3 win over New York University and rallied for a 7-6 victory over Case Western Reserve. The Judges move over .500 for the first time this season at 5-4, while their 3-1 record matches their UAA win total from each of the last five seasons.
- Brandeis scored runs in every other inning en route to the 7-3 win
- The Judges started in the first when they scored twice on one hit thanks to a lead-off double by rookie DP Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn. / Plainfield) and two NYU errors.
- After two were out in the third, three-straight Judges reached, with rookie LF Marissa DeLaurentis (Centereach, N.Y. / St.John the Baptist Diocesesan) singling up the middle to give Brandeis a 3-0 lead.
- After stranding four through the first three innings, NYU broke through in the fourth thanks to a two-run double by Marissa Bella, but Brandeis junior Melissa Soleimani (Somerset, Mass./Somerset Berkeley) got a pop-up to get out of the inning.
- Brandeis answered in the next half-inning on an RBI single by junior Madison Hunter (Parker, Colo./Legend) and a double by DeLaurentis.
- NYU's Karissa Zubulake got her team within 5-3 with a home run to left in the bottom of the fifth.
- RBI doubles by senior 3B Madison Sullivan (Dover, N.H./Dover) and Hunter closed the scoring in the seventh inning.
- Soleimani improved to 2-2 on the season with seven innings of eight-hit ball. She allowed three earned runs, walked one and struck out a career-high five.
- It was her third complete game of the season.
AGAINST CASE WESTERN RESERVE
- The Judges defeated the Spartans, 7-6, despite getting outhit, 15-7, as they stranded 12 runners on base.
- Each team scored in the first, with Case taking advantage of a Brandeis error in the top half of the inning.
- In the bottom half, Brandeis rookie catcher Kira Wessels (Los Angeles, Calif. / Venice) walked and scored three batters later on a Hunter double. CWRU kept the game tied by throwing out a go-ahead run at the plate.
- The Spartans jumped ahead, 3-1, in the second thanks to a two-run home run to center field by Annie Wennerberg.
- The Judges came right back in the bottom of the frame with five runs in just three hits. With one away, junior Allison Hecht (Melville, N.Y. / Half Hollow Hills East) slugged her second career home run and the team's first of 2016 to get Brandeis within 3-2.
- After a walk and a hit batter, Lehtonen tied the game with a double to left-center, while Wessels singled up the middle to give Brandeis the 4-3 lead.
- After Wessels stole second to put two runners in scoring position, CWRU got the second out of the inning, but the Judges were able to get both runs home on a wild pitch and a passed ball, taking a 6-3 lead.
- In the third, Brandeis sophomore starter Sadie-Rose Apfel (Stamford, Conn./Westhill) left two runners in scoring position after inducing a comebacker to the circle and a liner to center.
- The Spartans left two more runners on in the fourth and loaded the bases with two out in the fifth, but Apfel escaped damage with a harmless fly to center.
- Down to their final six outs, Case finally broke through in the sixth inning, scoring three times to tie the game. 3B Maren Walder delivered a two-run single to knock Apfel out of the game.
- Brandeis rookie Sarah Petrides (Scottsdale, Ariz. / Phoenix Country Day School) came on in relief and saw the Spartans put two runners in scoring position after a wild pitch, a single and a stolen base. Catcher Meaghann McMahon tied the game with a sacrifice fly, but the potential go-ahead run was left at second base after a lazy pop to short.
- In the bottom of the sixth, the Judges were able to score the winning run with aggressive play. Hecht opened the inning with a single through the left side.
- Pinch runner Leah Shapiro (Beverly Hills, Calif./Beverly Hills) moved to second on a bunt by senior Jordan Buscetto (Old Lyme, Conn./Old Lyme). Case pitcher Katie Dzierwa induced a grounder to short to keep Shapiro in place, but Lehtonen followed with a solid single to right-center to give the Judges the 7-6 lead.
- After Case got the final out of the sixth inning, Soleimani came in to close things out in the seventh. She got the first out before allowing a single and a walk. A pop to short provided the second out, but Soleimani issued a second free pass to move the tying run 90 feet away and the go-ahead run into scoring position.
- Soleimani coaxed a grounder to second to close out the contest and earn her first collegiate save.
- The Judges, who sit in second place in the UAA standings through four games, meet first-place (and fourth-ranked in Division III) Emory tomorrow at 10 a.m.
For more information on Brandeis Athletics, please visit brandeisjudges.com or follow us on Twitter or Instagram @brandeisjudges, or follow us on Facebook.
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