Softball Shocks No. 17 Ohio Northern, Falls to Alma at NFCA Leadoff Classic
ALMA BOX | ONU BOX
Columbus, Ga., March 9, 2013 – The No. 25 ranked Washington University in St. Louis softball fought back from a four-run deficit for a 5-4 victory over No. 17 Ohio Northern University to gain a split on day two of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Leadoff Classic Saturday in Columbus, Ga.
Washington University suffered a 6-4 loss to Alma College in the opening game of the day.
Alma 6, #25 Washington U. 4
Alma (9-4) got on the scoreboard first in the third inning with three runs on two hits and took advantage of two errors by Washington U. Kayla Smart had the key hit for the Scots in the inning, a two-RBI double to center.
Alma held onto the 3-0 lead until the top of the fifth, when Washington U. put together a rally scoring four runs on four hits. A double to left field by junior Kelsey Neal plated two runs to make it a one-run game at 3-2, and then junior Maggie Mullen drove in a run with a hit to left. The leftfielder bobbled the ball allowing another run to score to give WUSTL the 4-3 advantage.
Freshman pitcher Annie Pitkin was lifted for Neal holding a one-run lead, but Alma scored two runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth to regain the lead at 5-4. Shelby O’Dow had a pinch-hit double to left driving in both of the runs. Pitkin relieved Neal in the sixth and gave up a run on an illegal pitch.
Pitkin allowed seven hits and two earned runs in five innings pitched and was credited with a no-decision. She began her career with 15-straight scoreless innings, and is 2-0 with a 0.78 earned run average in 18.0 innings pitched this season. Neal (4-1) took the loss giving up three hits and two earned runs in one inning of relief. Washington U. had eight hits in the loss, led by multi-hit games by Neal (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, run scored) and senior Ashley Janssen (2-for-3, walk, run scored).
#25 Washington U. 5, #17 Ohio Northern 4
Washington U. scored five unanswered runs in the final four innings of play against Ohio Northern, highlighted by a game-winning RBI single by Neal in the top of the seventh inning.
The Bears trailed 4-0 after three innings of play after the Polar Bears scored two runs in the first and added two in the third. Washington U. got back into the contest with three runs in the top of the fourth, highlighted by sophomore Sydney Caldwell’s two-out two-RBI single to right field.
Neal settled down on the mound and limited Ohio Northern to four hits in the final four innings of play. The Bears tied the game with two outs in the top of the sixth after freshman Brooke Hofer singled to right scoring Mullen. The game remained knotted up until the seventh, when the Bears put together a rally to score the game-winning run.
Janssen led off the top of the seventh with a walk, and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Adrienne White. Janssen came around to score the game-winning run after the RBI single by Neal.
Janssen was 3-for-4 at the plate, and raised her batting average to .463 with five hits in the two games Saturday. Hofer went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, and is now hitting a team-best .472 with eight multiple-hit games. Neal improved to 5-1 tossing a complete game, allowing seven hits and two earned runs.
Washington University (10-2) concludes play at the NFCA Leadoff Classic with a pair of games on Sunday, March 10. The Bears take on the winner of Mississippi College and Methodist University at 10 a.m. (ET), followed by a contest at Noon or 2 p.m. in the Bronze Bracket championship or third-place game.