Swarthmore Softball Ends Season at .500 with Ursinus Split
COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Behind the dominant pitching of sophomore Melissa O'Connor and several web gems in the late innings in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, the Swarthmore Garnet softball team earned a split with the homestanding Ursinus Bears to close out the 2012 regular season. Swarthmore dropped the opener 11-0 before winning a 1-0 thriller.
With the split, Swarthmore ends the season 20-20, nearly tripling its win total from 2011. Sophomore Nicole Aaron and junior Rose Pitkin each had two hits on the day for the Garnet while junior Kate Smayda (pictured) capped her brilliant season with the lone RBI of the day for the Garnet.
That RBI was her 20th of the season giving five Garnet players at least 20 after not a single player had more than 14 last season.
Several offensive performances by the Garnet this year rank among the best in Centennial history. Smayda finishes the year with 152 at-bats, second most in a season in Conference history. Smayda's 64 hits this year also leaves her with the second most in a season in Conference history.
Elizabeth Cushing ends the year with 19 doubles, tied for the most in a single season in Centennial history, and her 38 career doubles are tied for second-most in a Centennial career. With four homeruns this year as well, Cushing had 23 extra base hits, second most in a Centennial career.
The opener was all Ursinus from the opening pitch as the Bears blew away the Garnet. Needing a win to secure a playoff berth, Ursinus jumped on Swarthmore with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Two singles sandwiched around a stolen base and a sacrifice plated the first run and a booming triple, the first of three in the game for Ursinus, made the score quickly 2-0.
Swarthmore looked to answer quickly in the top of the second with a Pitkin double and Liz Cushing single to put runners on the corners with no outs, but the Garnet couldn't dive home the run.
Ursinus added to the lead in the bottom of the second on a laser homerun by Emelie McFarland to left and tacked on a five spot in the third to put the game out of reach. With two outs and a runner on second, the next five Bears reached base thanks to a walk, two singles, a triple by McFarland and an error before Swarthmore could work out of the frame.
Another McFarland triple in the fourth scored two more Bears and the following batter Kelsey Coyne singled home McFarland to make the final 11-0.
O'Connor was on from the get-go in Game 2 allowing just one hit through the first four innings. She was matched batter for batter by Ursinus hurler Kelly Schymanski who was equally dominant through the first two before the Garnet worked across a run in the third.
Freshman Emma Madarasz lined a hard double one hop off the wall in left and was sacrificed to third by senior Marley Spector. After a groundout, Smayda stepped to the plate and hit a clean single through the right side for the 1-0 lead.
Ursinus threatened for the first time in the second game in the fifth inning after a leadoff bunt single and a one out walk put runners on first and second. But on a fly to center field, Smayda fired to third to get the lead runner advancing for an 8-5 double play with a nifty tag applied by Pitkin.
The sixth ended with more nifty defense by the Garnet. A pair of leadoff singles again put runners on first and second and Samantha Sinisi tried to bunt them into scoring position only to have the lead runner thrown out at third. A walk loaded the bases with one out before Abby Sido flied to Smayda in shallow center for the second out. The Next batter was Kelsey Coyne, and she hit a pop-up foul in front of the Ursinus dugout. Madarasz overran the ball, having it tip off her glove. But first-baseman Jesslyn Lammerts was there and with a dive forward, got her mitt under the ball just before it hit the ground for a sensational inning-ending putout.
After the team went quietly again in the top of the seventh, it was O'Connor and the defense that closed out the game for the Garnet. With one out and a runner on first, Rachel Vietheer tried to bunt for a hit down the third baseline. But she bunted on a line drive right to Pitkin who then fired to first to get the runner sliding back for a game-ending double play.