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Ithaca beats AU at NCAA softball regional
5/15/10

ITHACA, NY – Ithaca beat the Alfred University softball team, 5-1, Saturday afternoon, handing the Saxons their first loss at the NCAA Division III regional tournament. Alfred (36-7) will play in the consolation final at noon Sunday against Lebanon Valley.

Host Ithaca (33-13), the second seed in the regional tournament, took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Cait Ryan singled with one out and Brittany Lillie reached on a fielder’s choice. Lillie advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Kerry Barger single. Molly O’Donnell followed with a homerun off AU starter Jesika LeBarron (Campbell, NY/C orning West).

Ithaca added a run in the third. Lillie opened the inning with a double and advanced to third on a balk, scoring two batters later on an O’Donnell single. Alfred scored its only run in the fifth. Shanna Ewoldt (Tuscon, AZ/Waubansie Valley) reached on an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice and third on a groundout before scoring on a two-out single by third baseman Molly Shepherd (Camillus, NY/West Genesee).

Ithaca got the run back in the sixth on an RBI double by Kait Dolan, which scored Annemarie Forenza. Ithaca starter Alyssa Brook retired the Saxons in order to pick up the win and advance the Bombers to the regional championship game. She allowed an unearned run on four hits, striking out six.

Chelsey Cary (Corfu, NY/Pembroke) pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless one-hit relief of LeBarron, striking out three. Shepherd pitched final inning and allowed a run on two hits. LeBarron took the loss, allowing four earned runs on six hits. Shepherd had two hits and drove in a run to lead Alfred.

If fourth-seeded Alfred defeats third-seeded Lebanon Valley on Sunday morning , the Saxons would play Ithaca in the title game at 2 p.m. Sunday. If AU wins that game, the two teams would meet again for the regional title – and a berth in next weekend’s national championship finals at Wisconsin Eau-Claire – at 10 a.m. Monday.