WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University softball team ended a day full of drama when they scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning against Mary Baldwin College to sweep a doubleheader on a windy and cold Sunday afternoon at the GU Softball Complex. The Bison swept the twin bill 4-2 and 12-11 in nine innings against the visiting Fighting Squirrels (0-6).
Gallaudet (4-0) is off to its hottest start under head coach Joseph Kolcun, tied its longest wining streak since March 5-12, 2008.
The Bison were up 9-7 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning in the second game. With two outs and Fernandez on second base, after a double to center field, freshman Emily Forsberg (Riverside, Calif.) was called upon to pinch-hit for freshman left fielder Kelsey Hudson (Blissfield, Mich.). Forsberg got a hit and scored Fernandez from second, which should have made the score 10-7, but the Bison celebration was quickly squashed. Mary Baldwin's coach questioned the substitution and conferenced with the umpire, who then ruled Forsberg was an illegal batter and was ruled out. There was miscommunication between Coach Kolcun and the umpire during the initial substitution. The run came off the board and the inning ended, since Forsberg was the third out.
Mary Baldwin was down to its last out in the top of the seventh inning before Janie Brothers (2-for-6, two RBIs, two runs) doubled to left field to plate two runners and knot the game at 9-9. GU went down in order in the bottom half of the seventh to force extra innings.
In extra innings each team starts their at-bat with a runner on second base, as dictated by NCAA rules.
The Fighting Squirrels got things started in extra frames as the Bison committed one of their seven errors. Jessica Hogle hit a RBI-single through the left side of the infield to score Jonqui Brown (2-for-6, two RBIs, two runs). Rebecca Parramore (2-for-5, three RBIs) came around to score Mary Baldwin's second run of the inning on a Lindsey Shifflet (2-for-5) single to the outfield.
GU had the heart of its order set to bat in the bottom of the eighth but the first two batters struck out. Sophomore second baseman Mia Fernandez (Artesia, N.M.) collected an infield hit to give the Bison two runners on base. Kolcun pinch-hit for first baseman Caitlin Stevens (Glen Allen, Va.) with freshman Zamica Gage (Austin, Texas), who delivered with a single up the middle that scored senior Nicole O'Malley (Fredericksburg, Va.) from second base. Gage then got hung up in a rundown but made it back to first base safely. In the process, Fernandez rounded third base and raced home to tie the game at 11.
In the ninth, sophomore pitcher Montana Murphy (Simi Valley, Calif.) gave up only one hit and got three ground outs to get out of the jam.
Senior third baseman Kara Gulvas (Crown Point, Ind.) started the bottom of the ninth on second base for the Bison as Hudson came up to the plate. Hudson then promptly delivered a line drive to right field to score Gulvas and end the game in dramatic fashion. The Bison bench erupted for their dugout and mobbed Gulvas, Hudson and Gage on the field in celebration.
Murphy (2-0) picked up her second win, in as many days, as she pitched the complete game where she allowed 11 runs (three earned, due to so many fielding errors by the Bison) and struck out six and walked three.
Four Bison batters had two or more hits in the win. Fernandez led the way with a 3-for-4 day, two runs, double and one RBI. O'Malley, Gulvas (three RBIs) and senior outfielder Alicia Johnson (San Jose, Calif.) had two hits each. Freshman Anna Lynch (Falls Church, Va.) had a triple and scored one run, one RBI.
Hogle (0-4) was saddled with the loss as she pitched six innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits, walked one and struck out three. Parramore led the Flying Squirrels at the plate going 2-for-5, two doubles, three RBIs and one run scored. Second baseman Virginia Griffin went 2-for-4 with a double, two walks and four runs scored.
Gallaudet junior pitcher Rachel Sweigart (Big Rock, Ill.) had a shutout going until the top of the fifth inning in the first game when she gave up a double to left field off the bat of Olivia Compton and a single up the middle by Brothers (2-for-4) to score two runs, tie the game 2-2.
The Bison answered with two runs of their own at the bottom of the fifth when Stevens (1-for-2, two RBIs) doubled down the right field line to score Fernandez and pinch runner Elena Ciccarelli (Whitesboro, N.Y.).
Sweigart (2-0) pitched a complete game for the Bison as she surrendered two runs (one earned) on eight hits, walked one and struck out two. Johnson went 2-for-3 with a double, stolen base and a walk. Lynch went 1-for-3 as she slammed a two-run double to center field in the bottom of the fourth to get the Bison on the scoreboard 2-0.
Brothers started in the pitching circle for the Fighting Squirrels and went 3.1 innings. She was relieved by Hogle, who took the loss as she pitched 2.2 innings and recorded two strikeouts and one walk.
Gallaudet will take on Notre Dame of Maryland University on Saturday, March 9, in a non-conference doubleheader at the GU Softball Complex at 1 p.m.