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Saxons sweep Utica, clinches berth in Empire 8 softball championships
4/28/12

UTICA, NY - The Alfred University softball team won a pair of Empire 8 games at Utica College Saturday afternoon. The Saxons took the first game of the doubleheader, 9-2, before rallying to win the nightcap, 8-5.

With the sweep, AU improves to 26-10 overall and 7-3 in the Empire 8, and clinches a spot in the four-team conference championship tournament next weekend. If the Saxons sweep Stevens at home on Sunday, they will be the second seed in the double-elimination tournament, the winner of which earns an automatic bid to the NCAA championships. The championship tournament is being held Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5, at top-seeded Ithaca, which won the regular season conference crown with a perfect 12-0 league mark.

In Saturday’s opener, AU plated four runs in the top of the third and a single run in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead. The Saxons’ third frame was highlighted by a leadoff homerun by freshman catcher Lauren Fix (Hudson, NY/Germantown) and a two-run double by senior leftfielder Angela Netta (Rahway, NJ/Mother Seton Regional). After Utica (22-17, 4-8 E8) tallied single runs in the fourth and fifth to pull within three, the Saxons scored four in the sixth - highlighted by a three-run homerun by sophomore centerfielder Breeal Delgado (Rancho Cucamonga, CA/Los Osos) ¬ to pull away.

Delgado finished 2-for-4 with a homerun and a double, three RBIs and two runs scored to pace the Saxons’ 12-hit attack. Netta was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored; Fix was 2-for-3 with two runs scored; junior third baseman Hana Gross (Union, NJ/Union) was 2-for-4 with an RBI; and freshman outfielder Alyson Hampton (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard) had a hit, drove in a run and scored twice.

Freshman Jessica O’Sullivan (Groton, MA/Groton Dunstable Regional) improved to 9-4 on the year for the Saxons. She allowed two earned runs on seven hits over five innings, striking out three. Freshman Samantha Jo Muller (Port Jervis, NY/Port Jervis) pitched the final two innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.

Courtney Fitzgerald went 2-for-4 with a solo homerun and two RBIs and Meghan Matan went 2-for-4 and scored once for Utica. Heather Kingsbury took the pitching loss for the Pioneers, allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits while striking out two and walking four.

In the second game, Alfred took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first before Utica answered with four runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a three-run lead. Alfred responded with four of its own in the top of the second to go up 5-4 and never trailed again. The Saxons posted a run in the fifth and two more in the seventh before the Pioneers rounded out the scoring with a single run in bottom of the seventh.

Delgado and Netta continued their big day at the plate to carry the Saxon offense. Delgado went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs and Netta was 3-for-3 with a double, a pair of runs scored and one driven in. Sophomore Danielle Mastropierro (Randolph, NJ/Randolph) had a pinch-hit, two-run single; Fix scored a run and drove in one; and sophomore Jackie Tomisman (Schenectady, NY/Niskayuna) belted a pinch-hit RBI single.

Sophomore Tori Kramp (Yardley, PA/Pennsbury) earned the win in relief of Muller, who started for the Saxons and allowed four earned runs on six hits in two-thirds of an inning. Kramp went the rest of the way, allowing one earned run on seven hits while striking out two in 6 1/3 innings.

Bridgette Plummer was 4-for-4 with an RBI double and run scored and an RBI for Utica. Fitzgerald was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI and Mallory Ingalls had a pair of hits and two RBIs.

Haley Butler took the pitching loss for the Pioneers, going two innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits. Briona Enny tossed the final five innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits while striking out five.

Alfred wraps up its regular seasons with a 1 p.m. home doubleheader against Stevens on Sunday, April 29, at Hornell High School. If the Saxons sweep Stevens, AU will be seeded second, behind top-seeded Ithaca. Fisher would be third and Stevens fourth. If AU splits with Stevens, the Saxons will be the third seed in the conference tournament, behind top-seeded Ithaca and second-seed Fisher, with Stevens seeded fourth. If Stevens sweeps AU, the Saxons would be fourth and Stevens third.