AMHERST, Mass. - A walk-off single by George Washington’s Sierra Lange lifted the third seeded Colonials to a 12-11 victory over fifth seeded Saint Joseph’s in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Softball Championship on Friday. With the loss, the Hawks move into the elimination bracket and will face top seed Fordham on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the UMass Softball Complex with a trip to the conference title game on the line.
In a contest that tied the A-10 record for the most runs scored in a conference postseason game, the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Molly Kapala singled home Kirstin Cox, then hustled home to score off a throwing error to second base by the Colonials on the same play.
Taking advantage of three hits and an SJU error, George Washington responded with five runs in the bottom half of the first to take a 5-2 edge.
Carly Rybinski made it 5-3 in the top half of the second on a single that scored Taryn Grober, but again the Colonials answered, this time tallying four runs and chasing SJU starter Ashley Ventura to make it 9-3.
Despite having their backs to the wall, the Hawks responded starting with a two-run home run by Taylor Marinelli in the third, and followed with a three-run fourth to make it 9-8. Cox scored her second run of the game on a ground out by Jancarla Herrera, while later in the inning Sarah Ostaszewski connected on a two-run home run to right to make it 9-8.
A sacrifice fly by George Washington made it 10-8 in the fifth, but Saint Joseph's pushed back with three runs in the top of the sixth to retake the lead, 11-10. Cox doubled home Amanda Kulp for the first run of the inning, while Molly Kapala singled Cox to tie it. Grober then put the Hawks ahead on a sacrifice fly as Kapala scored to make it 11-10.
George Washington tied the game with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and following a scoreless top of the seventh, tallied the game-winning run on a single by Lange with the bases loaded.
Rookie Amanda Herr, who pitched admirably in 5.1 innings of relief, fell to 8-5 on the season with the loss after allowing four earned runs on nine hits. Ventura allowed eight runs over 1.0 innings before leaving the game.
At the plate, all nine SJU batters picked up a hit for the second time this postseason as Kapala went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored and classmate Caela Abadie was 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored. Marinelli finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs batted in on her second home run of the season, while Herrera was 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Saint Joseph's now has played in both A-10 postseason games that featured the most runs (21) having previously lost to Rutgers, 12-11, in the opening game of the 1995 A-10 Championship.
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