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AU softball team splits doubleheader at Fisher
4/19/09

PITTSFORD, NY – The Alfred University softball team split a doubleheader at St. John Fisher Sunday afternoon. With a win in the second game, Alfred clinched a berth in the four-team Empire 8 Conference championship tournament.

The Saxons dropped the opener, 7-6, when Fisher scored three unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh. The tying and winning runs scored with two outs on an Alfred error, spoiling a solid effort by AU freshman reliever Nicole Hedrick (Albany, NY/Catholic Central). The Saxons bounced back in the second game, winning 11-3 in five innings on the strength of four homeruns and another effective relief outing by Hedrick.

The win in the second game improved Alfred’s record to 22-4 overall and 6-4 in the Empire 8. AU stands a half-game ahead of fourth-place RIT (5-5 Empire 8), which swept Nazareth Sunday.

In the second game, stopped after five innings, AU junior shortstop Karen Folts (Penn Yan, NY/Penn) went 3-for-3 with two runs and hit her team-leading 10th homerun, which extends her school single-season record. She also hit a homer in the opening game and has now hit one in each of her last four contests. Junior third baseman Jesika LeBarron (Campbell, NY/Corning West) (2-for-4, two runs, two RBIs), sophomore Madison Snyder (Medford, NY/Patchogue-Medford) (2-for-2, two runs, two RBIs), and sophomore outfielder Brittany Loucks (Addison, NY/Addison) (3-for-3, one run, four RBIs) also hit homeruns for the Saxons.

Hedrick threw 4 2/3 innings in relief of sophomore starter Chelsey Cary (Corfu, NY/Pembroke) and allowed two runs (both unearned) on four hits to improve to 4-2 on the season. Cary lasted only one-third of an inning, allowing an earned run on two hits. Amanda Shevchuk took the loss on the mound for Fisher, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in two innings in relief of starter Melissa Blakeney.

Alfred had a chance at the second seed before Fisher’s seventh-inning rally in Sunday’s opener. With the score tied at 4-4 after six innings AU plated two in the top of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. Fisher would score three in seventh, the last two unearned with two outs, to escape with the victory.

LeBarron went 2-for-4 with a homerun, two runs and two RBIs to pace the Saxons. Junior centerfielder Jessica Figallo (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood) had two hits, including a double, and scored a run; and freshman first baseman Molly Shepherd (Camillus, NY/West Genesee) and Loucks each went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.

Kristi Bradley went 2-for-3 with a homerun and two runs scored for Fisher. Jamie Harmon had two hits in two at-bats and drove in two.

Hedrick went 3 1/3 innings in relief of Cary and allowed three unearned runs on three hits. Cary allowed four earned runs on five hits while striking out three in 3 1/3 innings of work. Chrissy Capalbo earned the win in relief of Shevchuk, allowing two runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Alfred wraps up its conference schedule Friday with a 3 p.m. doubleheader against visiting Ithaca; RIT concludes its conference slate with a 1 p.m. doubleheader Saturday against visiting Utica. RIT clinches a conference tournament bid with a sweep of Utica, while Utica would earn the conference's tournament's fourth seed with a sweep of RIT. AU and RIT split their season series, meaning a tiebreaker will be used to determine the Empire 8 tournament’s third and fourth seeds if the two teams finish tied in the conference standings. The winner of the double-elimination Empire 8 championship tournament earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships.