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AU softball team splits with Ithaca
4/24/09

HORNELL, NY – Freshman Nicole Hedrick (Albany, NY/Catholic Central) tossed a complete-game shutout and junior second baseman Karen Folts (Penn Yan, NY/Penn) belted three doubles as the Alfred University softball team beat Ithaca College, 6-0, to salvage a split of a doubleheader Friday afternoon at Hornell High School.

With the win, Alfred’s first-ever over Ithaca, the Saxons (23-5, 7-5 Empire 8) clinch the third seed in next weekend’s four-team Empire 8 Conference championship tournament. The winner of the double-elimination tournament, set for Friday and Saturday, May 1 and 2, at top-seeded Ithaca, earns the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championships.

Hedrick sparkled for the Saxons, allowing only four singles while striking out four. She had tossed four innings in relief of starter Chelsey Cary (Corfu, NY/Pembroke) in the opener, a 7-6 Ithaca win. In that game, Hedrick allowed one run on two hits while striking out seven. Folts was outstanding in both games. In the AU win, she was 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs scored and two driven in. In the opener, she was 2-for-4 with a run.

The Saxons’ victory in the second game was the first over Ithaca in the 16-year history of the AU softball program. With the conference tournament’s third seed, AU will take on second-seeded St. John Fisher in the opening game Friday, while Ithaca plays the fourth seed, either RIT or Utica. RIT hosts Utica in a doubleheader Saturday. If RIT wins one game, the Tigers earn the fourth and final bid to the conference championships, Utica needs a sweep to get the fourth seed.

In Alfred’s win, AU benefited from five Ithaca errors, which led to four unearned runs off Bomber starter Alyssa Brook, who allowed 10 hits and struck out five. Freshman outfielder Molly Shepherd (Camillus, NY/West Genesee) had a hit, a run and an RBI and sophomore designated hitter Madison Snyder (Medford, NY/Patchogue-Medford) added a run. Outfielder Brittany Lillie had two hits for the Bombers.

In the opener, Brook got the save in the relief of winning pitcher Lillie, allowing one run on three hits over innings and striking out six. AU was down 7-2 before plating three in the fifth off Lillie on a three-run homerun by junior third baseman Jesika LeBarron (Campbell, NY/Corning West) with no outs. Brook relieved Lillie and AU junior shortstop Samantha Rollins (Hornell, NY/Hornell) greeted her with a double and Folts reached on an error. Brook stranded both runners and the Saxons went in order in the sixth. Rollins scored on Shepherd’s RBI single in the seventh to make it 7-6.

Rollins finished with three hits scored twice, and LeBarron had two hits and three RBIs. Cary lasted three innings for the Saxons, allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits.

Outfielder Julianna Van Meter had two hits and scored twice for Ithaca and Lillie went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Second baseman Annmarie Forenza also drove in two for Ithaca (23-13, 10-2 Empire 8).