WASHINGTON – It was an emotional day for the Gallaudet University softball team as it participated in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) "StrikeOut Cancer" Pink Day at the GU Softball Complex on Tuesday afternoon.
The Bison had cancer survivor Natalie Grindstaff throw out the first pitch to her daughter, Raquel Grindstaff (New Market, Md.), and then celebrated its 8-5 win, the first in seven tries, and first victory over Wilson College since 2014.
The victorious feeling was short-lived as the Bison (8-12, 2-10 NEAC) battled the Phoenix (12-13, 4-4 NEAC), themselves and tough breaks in the second game. The game was suspended, due to darkness, after the fifth inning with the Phoenix leading 9-3.
Game 1: Gallaudet 8, Wilson 5
Gallaudet added to its 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning with three runs scored off Wilson starting pitcher Kayla Sullenberger (5-6). Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Hudson (Blissfield, Mich.) delivered the key hit, a two-run triple to left-center field, that scored junior Adele Fass (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and sophomore Jordan Hogan (Severn, Md.). Hudson later scored on senior Kate Fetzer's (Noblesville, Ind.) double to the outfield.
Sullenberger tried to rally the Phoenix in the top of the seventh with a RBI single through the left-side of the infield to cut the Bison lead to three, 8-5, with two outs. The next Wilson batter flew out to right field to end the game.
Sophomore Alyssa Barlow (Chandler, Ariz.) earned the win as she pitched the complete game in the circle and allowed five runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out two of 32 batters faced.
The Bison got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning when sophomore Genesis Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas) reached first base on a fielder's choice as the Phoenix attempted to throw out Hogan at the plate, where she beat the throw.
GU broke through in the bottom of the fourth with three runs to take a 5-0 lead. With bases loaded, Hudson was hit by a pitch to score a run. Rodriguez stepped to the plate and put the ball in play as Wilson threw out Fass at the home. An errant thrown by the catcher allowed Rodriguez to advance to second base and two runs to score as Hogan and Hudson scampered home.
The Phoenix cut the lead to one, 5-4, as they scored four runs off three consecutive doubles.
Game 2: Wilson 9, Gallaudet 3
After both teams scored two runs in the first inning, the Phoenix took off in the top of the second inning. In a two-out rally, Wilson scored six runs off five hits and two walks to take a commanding 8-2 lead.
Two of Gallaudet's three runs came from a well hit ground out that brought home the runners, the other run came off Hudson's fifth triple of the season in the first inning.
As the fifth inning wrapped up, the game was called on account of darkness, giving both teams a win for the day.
Fetzer (2-7) started the game and took the loss as the Phoenix scored eight runs on six hits and four walks and one strikeout. Hogan came in for relief in the second inning and pitched the remainder of the game, allowing one run on five hits.
Taylor Crouse (4-5) earned the win in the circle for the Phoenix as she allowed three runs (two earned) off three hits, three walks and struck out four. She also went 2-for-3, drove in a run and scored twice in the second game.
- Hudson went a combined 3-for-6 with three runs, four RBI and a triple in each game
- Five different Bison scored, led by Hogan with four runs
- Rodriguez and Hudson were the only Bison to have hits in both games
- Fetzer, Hudson and Barlow each hit a double
- GU last defeated Wilson on April 5, 2014, with a 10-2 win in five innings.
- The Bison are 2-22 against the Phoenix since GU joined the NEAC in 2011
- Gallaudet's rivalry with Wilson dates back to 1984
Gallaudet remains at home this weekend as it welcomes College of St. Elizabeth on Saturday, April 23, for a NEAC doubleheader that starts at 2 p.m.