CLEARWATER, Fla. - The Saint Joseph's softball team earned a 5-4 victory over Central Michigan in nine innings to open play on Friday at the Under Armour Showcase. The Hawks, who fell to Central Michigan, 9-1, in five innings in second game of the day, return to action on Saturday versus Quinnipiac at 2 p.m.

Rallying twice in extra innings, Saint Joseph's (7-5) earned a win in the opener with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

After Central Michigan scored in the top of the ninth to take a 4-3 edge, the Hawks had back-to-back outs to lead off the bottom half of the inning. With no one on, Stacey Mayer singled to start the rally. Raelynn Genovese followed with a triple to score Mayer. With the game tied at 4-4, senior Lauren Reilly came up with a clutch game-winning single to score Genovese and give the Hawks the 5-4 win.

Mirroring each other until the ninth, SJU and Central Michigan traded each other run for run.

CMU opened the game scoring a run in the first, but Saint Joseph's sophomore Molly Kapala led off the bottom of the inning with a solo home run to knot the game at 1-1.

In the sixth, Central Michigan struck for a run, but in the bottom of the inning the Hawks' Amanda Kulp scored on a sacrifice fly by Caela Abadie to make it 2-2.

Following a scoreless seventh, Central Michigan again jumped ahead, this time 3-2 on an RBI groundout.

Abadie struck again to keep the game going in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI single that scored Genovese and forced the thrilling ninth inning.

In the circle, Ashley Ventura went all nine innings, allowing just two earned runs, while allowing nine hits and striking out three.

At the plate, Reilly was 3-for-4 with a run batted in, while Genovese was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

With a quick turnaround versus Central Florida, the Hawks fell behind 8-0 after four innings as the Knights scored four in the second, three in the third and once in the fourth.

Saint Joseph's Jancarla Herrera scored on a RBI double by Kapala in the top of the fifth, but Central Florida plated a run in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.

Kulp finished the game going 2-for-2, while Herrera was 1-for-1. Senior Madison Clarke fell to 3-3 on the year with the loss after tossing 1.1 innings.

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