Junior pitcher Beth Ameno’s pitching and senior centerfielder Jessica Sorrentino’s hitting led the Yellowjackets to an 8-3 record on their spring break trip to Florida that included a second-place finish in the University Athletic Association softball Championships. The Yellowjackets posted a UAA team-best earned run average of 2.04.

The Yellowjackets have cracked the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 Poll for the first time this season at No. 15.

Ameno was named Liberty League Co-Pitcher of the Week for the week of March 17. She had an ERA 1.19 in UAA play, while starting eight games, pitching 63 innings and striking out 76 batters for a rate of 1.21 strikeouts per inning. Her season ERA thus far is 1.23.

Sorrentino leads the team with a .308 batting average, a .413 on base percentage, 12 hits and 10 runs batted in. In the UAAs, she batted .320, had eight hits and five RBIs.

UR began its trip in Clermont, Fla. with a doubleheader against The College of New Jersey. The ‘Jackets rallied to come from behind in the late innings of both games to take 5-4 and 3-2 victories.

In the first game, TCNJ scored one run in the first inning and put three more on the board in the sixth. UR answered with a four-spot in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at four a piece. In the seventh, UR scored the winning run after some defensive miscues by TCNJ. Freshman right fielder Liz Slupinski got to first on an error, and senior third baseman Alicia Citro lined a walk off single up the middle, scoring junior outfielder Mindy Altemose to win the game for UR. Ameno gave up six hits, four runs and struck out nine for the win.

In the nightcap, TCNJ took an early lead with two runs in the first inning. UR got on the board in the second when Slupinski bashed a solo home run. In the top of the sixth inning, the Yellowjackets scored two more runs to complete the comeback. Junior Megan Winn squeeze bunted, allowing Citro to come home with the tying run and moving Ameno to second. Ameno scored the winning run on a passed ball. In the circle, Ameno struck out 10 batters. UR had three hits in the game.

On Sunday, March 9, the Yellowjackets fell to Ripon College, 6-2. Ripon took an early lead, capitalizing on UR’s poor pitching and defense – the ‘Jackets had five errors in the game. Freshman pitcher Brittany Hylen was lifted from the circle after going 3.1 innings and giving up six hits and six runs. She was replaced by Citro who went 1.2 innings giving up one hit. Ameno pitched two innings in relief, giving up only one hit and fanning three. UR scored one run in the second and one in the third but was unable to put any offensive pressure on Ripon.

The ‘Jackets began UAA play on March 11, looking to grab their second-straight conference title. UR split the first day’s games in their first meeting with opponents, the Washington University in St. Louis Bears and the Case Western Reserve University Spartans.

UR was shut out by Wash U, 10-0, and was held to two hits in the first game of the day. The Bears tattooed Citro for eight hits and seven earned runs in the sixth inning, cutting the game short when the mercy rule took effect.

The Yellowjackets turned things around in the second game of the day against the Spartans, shutting them out, 2-0. Ameno shined brightly in the game, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and pitching a complete game. She gave up one hit and struck out a season-high 12 batters. UR scored its first run in the first inning when Clark singled up the middle, scoring freshman shortstop Lindsay Macaluso from second. UR’s second run came in the sixth when Slupinski singled to score Clark with the bases loaded. The ‘Jackets had seven hits in total.

The ‘Jackets then swept the Emory University Eagles and the Brandeis University Judges on Wednesday, March 12.

UR took advantage of Emory’s pitchers inabililty to locate the plate during the game to take a 6-4 victory. The ‘Jackets scored five runs in the third inning, then tacked on another run in the fourth inning when Slupinski scored on a wild pitch.

The Yellowjackets then fought out a 1-0 victory against Brandeis. The game belonged to Ameno, who provided the hitting and pitching that edged the Judges. Ameno hurled a complete game, allowing seven hits and fanning 10 batters. She plated the ‘Jackets’ only run of the game, slugging a solo home run to left field in the sixth inning.

The Yellowjackets played one game on Thursday, March 13, losing to nemesis Wash U, 8-2. UR’s defense couldn’t get a grip on the ball, surrendering eight unearned runs. Ameno pitched a complete game, giving up six hits, walking two and fanning eight to take the loss.

The Bears clawed their first of two four-run innings in the fourth with the help of two hits and four errors from the UR defense. The second four-run inning came in the sixth for the Bears, combining two errors with a two-run home run. Junior Brittany Celeste shattered a no-hit bid in the sixth with a single up the middle and scored when Macaluso was walked with bases loaded.

On Friday, March 14, the ‘Jackets swept Case and Emory. UR took the game into extra innings against Case, winning it with a walk-off home run, 4-3. In the nigthcap of the doubleheader, the ‘Jackets beat Emory, 7-1.

UR got on the board first against Case in the third inning when Sorrentino hit a solo home run to center field. Case took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning, but UR tied it up in the sixth with two more runs off of RBI doubles by Hylen and Slupinski.

The Yellowjackets finally came out on top in the bottom of the eighth with a walk-off home run to right center field by Celeste. Ameno pitched all eight innings and matched her season- and career-high of 12 strikeouts in the game. Against Emory, Ameno threw seven innings, allowing just one run while striking out two batters.

The ‘Jackets finished the last day of the UAAs with a 5-1 win over Brandeis. They scored three in the second inning on a bases-clearing double by Sorrentino. UR added another two runs in the fourth on doubles from Celeste, Slupinski and Sorrentino.

Five players were named to the UAA 2008 All-Association Softball Team. Ameno, Celeste and Sorrentino were all named to the First Team. Macaluso and Slupinski were named to the Second Team.

The Yellowjackets return to the field after a week and a half hiatus to play at Rochester Institute of Technology today at 3 p.m.

Levy is a member of the class of 2008.

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