Courtesy of UR Athletics

After finding themselves unlucky in a pair of down-to-the-wire losses against the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons last Friday, April 13, the women’s softball team bounced back in style this week, going 3-1 in a four-game home stand over the weekend. The Yellowjackets swept the Skidmore College Thoroughbreds (15-3, 2-0) on Saturday, April 14 before earning a tough split against the talented St. Lawrence University Saints (4-5, 7-6) on Sunday, April 15.

Having managed to produce just five runs in the Cortland doubleheader, the Yellowjackets’ bats came out swinging from the start in the home team’s match-up with the Thoroughbreds. In the first inning of game one alone, the yellow and blue stormed to a 6-0 lead, as freshman pitcher Brittany Grage notched a pair of RBIs with a double, junior infielder Gena Tume singled in Grage and senior outfielder Natalee Sassaman capped off the inning with a homer.

Yet Sassaman wasn’t done with the Thoroughbreds’ pitching staff. After Tume hit an RBI double to score sophomore infielder Nina Korn in the second, Sassaman gave Saints’ pitcher Katie Sorochka a taste of déjà vu, launching the ball out of GLC Field to up the lead to 9-1 and knock Sorochka from the game.

Tume got her turn to swing for the fences in the third, when she crushed Skidmore relief pitcher Abby Fuhrman’s pitch well out of reach of the Thoroughbreds’ outfield to score three. The Yellowjackets scored six runs in the inning to put away the visitors early.

Game two was a far different story, though the end result was the same. The UR bats managed two runs in the first inning — courtesy of a Skidmore throwing error which scored sophomore Meghan Hennessy and Tume’s double on the next play to score Korn — but little else as Grage sparred off with the Thoroughbreds’ Sam Crose. Crose limited the ’Jackets to just four hits in six innings while striking out five, but couldn’t match the five-hit complete game Grage delivered. Grage also struck out seven in her game.

On Sunday, the ’Jackets returned to the field to tackle the Saints. Some sloppy defense early on the part of the ’Jackets led to four unearned runs for the Saints in the opener, giving the visitors a narrow 5-4 win. Freshman pitcher Sarah Wayson took the loss in the opener, lasting 1.2 innings before junior pitcher Madeline Skellie arrived to shut down the Saints. Skellie allowed one hit, one earned run and struck out six over 5.1 innings to keep the game close to the end.

As with her start Saturday, Grage carried the bulk of the pitching load Sunday when she started the second game. And, on Saturday, she was a dominant force on the mound through most of the game, only faltering in the seventh inning. Through the first six innings, the Yellowjackets’ star pitcher allowed just one run in the fifth, but the heavy workload from numerous days of play began to take its toll in the seventh, when she loaded the bases and surrendered a grand slam to Saints’ pitcher Aisha O’Connor to bring the visitors within a run, 6-5.

Grage was also a presence at the plate, knocking in three runs in the game, including a two-run homer in the fourth.
Wayson then replaced Grage and promptly got two outs. St. Lawrence’s Rebecca Allen would not go down so easily, however, sending a long shot over the left field fence to tie the game at six a piece.

After putting down the final SLU batter, Wayson took to the plate and, like her predecessor Grage, proceeded to deliver what proved to be a decisive blow, singling in Sassaman to the shock of an unsuspecting SLU infield.

Softball’s next double header is away against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 21.

Bernstein is a member of the class of 2014.

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