AMHERST, Mass. - Fighting until the final out, the Saint Joseph's softball team's season came to an end as the fifth-seeded Hawks fell to top seed Fordham, 10-2, in the Atlantic 10 Championship on Saturday at the UMass Softball Complex.
Picked to finish seventh in the A-10 preseason poll, the Hawks proved the doubters wrong this year as they advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament and finished with a 28-25 record for their first winning season since 2015.
With the teams matched up for the second time in three days, Fordham took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by Madie Aughinbaugh and added to its lead with a four-run fifth inning to open a 5-0 edge. Jordy Storm drove in two runs with a triple, then came around to score on a single by Molly Roark. Gigi Speer added the final run of the inning as she scored on a fielder's choice by Kylie Michael.
Down by five, the Hawks cut into the Rams' lead in the top of the sixth as they plated two runs to make it 5-2. Saint Joseph's got on the board as Sarah Ostaszewski doubled home Kirstin Cox, who then scored on a single to right field by Taylor Marinelli to make it 5-2.
Unfortunately for SJU, Fordham struck for five runs on five hits in the bottom of the sixth to close out the game.
For the game, Ostaszewski and Cox each went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Ostaszewski's double in the sixth helped her tie the SJU single-season record for doubles of 19 set by Erika Rosenwinkel in 2008.
In the circle, senior Ashley Ventura tossed 5.0 innings in her final game as a Hawk, allowing five runs on nine hits to finish the season with a 15-16 record. Rookie Amanda Herr was charged with five earned runs on four hits in 0.1 innings, while Chelsea Evans came on in relief of Herr to toss 0.1 innings.
Appearing in her 113th career start, Ventura set a new program record for starts and finished second all-time in appearances (137) and innings pitched (705.1), and fourth in wins (57) and strikeouts (444). Classmate Amanda Kulp capped her career as Saint Joseph's all-time leader in career stolen bases (82) and stolen bases in a season (31 in 2017). She is tied for third all-time in runs scored (121) and ranks fourth all-time in career hits (197), while Taryn Grober finishes her Hawk career 33rd all-time in hits with 117.
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