PC softball compressed the leaching April-old wound Friday evening through an 8-inning, 5-4 triumph of Seton Hall at Raymond Field.
Scoreless in Big East play dating back to their March 29 doubleheader with Connecticut, the Friars spaced out their best single-game output since they were last seen on their own turf over three home runs and improved to 2-6 in conference games.
Mustering a mere two runs in the first eleven innings of the day –an accomplishment in of itself given its recent aridness on the scoreboard- Providence broke out in the fourth inning of the nightcap. Her mates freshly trailing 4-1 after a two-run top half, catcher Teresa Bertels leveled her fourth homer of the year, a 3-run, no-out bomb to draw a 4-4 knot.
Pirates’ pitcher Kim Schweitzer was forked out on the spot in favor of Ashley Forsyth –who had concocted a sound complete game in the afternoon. Forsyth went on to retire all but one of the next thirteen batters, but ran out of Friar Restraint tricks in the bottom of the eighth, surrendering a walk-off home run to PC’s cleanup hitter Christy Becker.
Lacking a win in their previous five opportunities and so much as a run in their last four games, the Friars’ futility persisted through Game 1, a 2-1 win for the Pirates that also required a bonus round.
Pirate cleanup Kealan Waldron –whose fifth inning single proved vital in forcing extra innings- pounced again in the top of the afternoon eighth, hustling to second while PC hurler Danielle Bertolette (complete game, 5 Ks, 5 hits) threw out Michelle Reed and then churning home for the decider on Shannon Pease’s subsequent double.
To start the day, the Friars at least cracked the chrysalis that plagued them last weekend at Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Leadoff batter Katelyn Revens promptly completed the roundtrip via a double, a sacrifice by Jenna Garcia, and Mary Rose Sheehy’s single. But afterwards, Forsyth confined her scurvy-riddled hosts to a mere two additional base runners –a sixth inning walk for Revens and a seventh inning double by Becker.
In the meantime, Seton Hall effectively scuffed Bertolette, among other things seducing her to four walks and a hit batsman before the end of the fifth inning, which they left knotted at 1-apiece. Ashley Constantiti supplied the equalizer on Waldron’s one out, base-loaded single, but Friars right fielder Justin Stratton would cut off Leah Manichetti’s attempt to pad on the go-ahead.
For all of their effective, draining dueling in the afternoon game, both Bertolette and Forsyth’s arms needed less than four innings in the evening to thaw out before they were called to duty again. PC had already gone through starter Jennifer Maccio –who authorized all four Seton Hall runs in 3.1 innings- and Kathryn Sullivan (two hits against in one inning) before Bertolette came on in the fifth. She ended up saving her best for last, abolishing all 11 challengers.
The Pirates, meantime, had seen enough of their nightcap starter –Jessica Jones- after two full frames. In that time, the Friars had snapped a quick 1-0 lead through Garcia’s homer and twice gnashed their way to second base, one of those aided by a passed ball.
Schweitzer’s relief endeavor (3 earned runs, 5 hits) survived the third, despite a pair of Providence singles, but caved in quickly in the fourth. Gina Rossi and Stratton leapt on board before Bertels’ four-bagger summoned Forsyth back to the mound. Forsyth, not unlike Bertolette, hushed the Friars once more until the eighth, allowing but one hit while distributing three strikeouts.
Lax Lowdown: PC lacrosse will visit the St. Joseph’s Hawks at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, renewing last year’s MAAC championship matchup.
The reigning also-rans are off to an iffy 2-2 start in their 2008 conference slate, the first three of those games being decided by a single goal before they surrendered a 14-12 earthquake decision at Virginia Military Institute last week.
The 4-0 Friars, conversely, have comfortably thawed out their offense since settling into their league schedule. Save for the epic, 4-3 quad-OT triumph at Siena two weeks back, they have thrice broken double digits (although, those three breezes were all at home).
St. Joseph’s is also respectably battle-tested, having already confronted the Friars’ first place cohabitant from Canisius (4-0) and restricted them to a 7-6 decision at Philadelphia’s Finnesey Field.
Hockey Quick Feeds: Mari Pehkonen’s –team leading two goals and five points through four games- Finns will face Switzerland for bronze at the Women’s World Championship Saturday before Team USA, aided by 2006 alumna Karen Thatcher and the tutelage of 1984 alumna Jackie Barto, conducts its umpteenth championship tilt with Canada...Outgoing senior Jon Rheault joined the East team in Friday’s Frozen Four Skills Challenge…Rheault’s former coach, Paul Pooley, will help Notre Dame vie for its first national title in Saturday’s final versus Boston College. The Irish overthrew top dog Michigan, 5-4, in overtime Thursday after the Eagles throttled North Dakota, 6-1, to set up a hockey version of the “Holy War.”