WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University women's softball team swept the College of St. Elizabeth for the first time in five years here Saturday afternoon in a North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) doubleheader at the GU Softball Complex.
The Bison (11-14-1, 2-4 NEAC) defeated the Eagles (3-15, 0-4 NEAC) with a walk-off hit in the first game, 10-9, and a walk-off home run in the second game, 5-4.
Game 1: Gallaudet 10, St. Elizabeth 9
The two teams needed extra-innings to decide who would break the 9-9 tie. This was Gallaudet's first extra-inning game this season where it needed to use the international tiebreaker rule, when a runner is placed on second base to start the inning.
The Bison found themselves in trouble in the top of the eighth when the Eagles loaded the bases with no outs. However, Gallaudet's defense led by junior pitcher Alyssa Barlow (Chandler, Ariz.), dug in and shut down the Eagles' next three batters to keep the game tied.
Gallaudet kept St. Elizabeth off the scoreboard in the top of the eighth before it got a shot in the bottom half.
Junior middle infielder Courtney Thomas (Yorkville, Ill.) led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single to right field. The hit moved senior Jordan Hogan (Severn, Md.), who was placed on second base at the start of the inning, to third base.
With no outs and two runners on base, senior catcher Adele Fass (Brooklyn, N.Y.) stepped up to the plate and sent a single to right field to score Hogan and end the game in Gallaudet's favor.
Barlow (4-6) threw a complete game as she allowed nine runs (five earned) on 13 hits, two walks and struck out eight batters to earn the win.
Gallaudet took a 9-6 lead into the top of the seventh inning and were one out away from ending the game in regulation before the Eagles soared back to knot the game at 9-9. The Eagles tied the game when Danesha Triplett hit a two-run home run to left-center field.
St. Elizabeth scored the game's first two runs before GU got on the scoreboard with a run in the second and four runs in the third. Senior Emily Walters (Gillette, Wyo.) had a two-run triple in the four-run third inning to give GU a 5-2 lead.
The Eagles responded with two runs in the fourth and fifth innings as they held a brief 6-5 lead before Gallaudet answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Junior Genesis Rodriguez (San Antonio, Texas) delievered a two-run single to center field as GU regained the lead 9-6.
Game 2: Gallaudet 5, St. Elizabeth 4
Freshman infielder Jenny Mendis (Brook Park, Ohio) was the hero for Gallaudet when she stepped to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning. Mendis worked a full count against Eagles pitcher Rachael Romer (1-7) before she drilled a pitch over the left-center field fence for the game-winning home run. The walk-off home was Mendis' first collegiate home run.
The excited Gallaudet bench met Mendis at home plate to celebrate the win and the sweep of the Eagles in dramatic fashion. This is GU's fourth walk-off victory this season.
Hogan (6-6) earned the win in the circle as she pitched a complete game where she allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits, one walk and struck out two.
Gallaudet scored the game's first run and built a 4-1 lead after three innings. Fass tripled in the third to drive in a run while sophomore Darriyan Thomas (Vallejo, Calif.) and Rodriguez scored runs on ground outs.
The Bison took their three-run lead into the seventh where the Eagles began a comeback. Hogan walked in a run with the bases loaded and surrendered a two-run double to Romer, which tied the game at 4-4.
"These wins put us at 11 wins overall this season which is one win better than last year. It is nice to see that some of the changes we made to our strategy are starting to pay off. We changed up our hitting technique this week and it was a little bit risky to implement it in the games this weekend but it really paid off and helped us get the wins today." - Justen Burns, Gallaudet University softball head coach.
- Gallaudet had a season-high 19 hits in the first game
- The 19 hits are the most hits in a game for Gallaudet since April 24, 2012, when the team recorded 20 hits against Penn St.-Abington in a 21-7 win
- Barlow went 5-for-8 at the plate and had three RBI
- Courtney Thomas went 4-for-5 and had four RBI in the first game
- The Bison snapped a four-game losing streak
- GU is now 8-6 at home against St. Elizabeth since the 2011 season
- The series is tied 13-13 between the Bison and Eagles
Gallaudet will return to the field tomorrow (Sunday, April 9) for a NEAC doubleheader when they host Penn-St. Abington (7-7, 3-1 NEAC) at noon.