EWING, N.J. – The Brandeis University softball team staged a dramatic seventh-inning comeback in the second game of a University Athletic Association doubleheader against rival NYU to complete a four-game series sweep and remain unbeaten on the season. The Judges won today's opener, 3-1, before scoring five runs while down to their final out to take a 6-3 decision in the finale. The Judges improve to 15-0-1 on the season and 4-0 in the UAA, while the Violets fall to 13-9, 1-4 UAA.
In the opener, the Judges won a 3-1 pitcher's duel behind the five-hit pitching of junior Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest). Todd improved to 8-0 on the season by striking out five and walking two in her sixth complete game of the season. It was the fourth-straight start in which she allowed only one earned run.
Brandeis got on the board first in the top of the fourth inning when sophomore shortstop Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) singled, took second on an error and scored on a single up the middle by rookie 3B Marley Felder (Miami, Fla./American Heritage School).
Brandeis added a pair of key unearned runs in the sixth, as junior 1B P.J. Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional) plated senior pinch runner Marysa Massoia (Feeding Hills, Mass./Suffield Academy) and Felder.
The runs provided necessary after NYU scored in the bottom of the frame. The Violets loaded the bases on a single, a force out, a walk and a hit batter. Todd got NYU 2B Lauren Kong to ground out to first, plating a run, and then stranded two runners in scoring position with another grounder to first. Both teams had runners in the seventh but were unable to do anything with them.
The Judges' win set the stage for a Game Two's dramatics. The Judges faced their largest deficit of the weekend, trailing 3-1 after NYU 3B Karen Paredes homered to lead off the bottom of the sixth against Brandeis rookie Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame). Violet starter Maggie Swan got the first out of the top of the seventh, and reliever Karissa Zubulake got the second.
At that point, the Judges started battling back. Rookie right fielder Amidori Anderson (Sparks, Nev./Spanish Springs) singled to third base, then senior catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) drew a walk. Sophomore centerfielder Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) delivered another infield single to shortstop loading the bases. Brandeis's leading hitter, Fujita, grounded a ball to second base, but it went through the wickets of the second baseman, allowing the tying runs to score. The next batter was Todd, who drilled her team-leading fourth home run of the season to left field to drive in the game-winning runs.
Goldman gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the frame, but retired the next three batters in a row to preserve the Judges' unbeaten streak and improve to 6-0 on the campaign.
With the win, Brandeis remains the lone undefeated team in NCAA softball at any level. Their 16-game unbeaten streak is the second-longest in program history, exceeded only by a 23-game winning streak in 2008. The series win is the first in a full four-game set for the squad since the inception of on-campus UAA play three years ago – they had previously won a single game at home against Case Western Reserve two years ago when the final three games were canceled because of weather.
Brandeis will put their unbeaten streak on the line on Tuesday afternoon at Clark University for a 3 p.m. doubleheader before hosting Case Western Reserve next weekend for their first home UAA action of the season.