KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Junior Sarah Free (Claremont, Calif.) reached based four times on a home run, double and two walks as the Holy Cross softball team captured its first win of the season in game two of a doubleheader against St. Francis (Pa.) and Sacred Heart on Wednesday afternoon at the Rebel Spring Games. St. Francis took a hard fought game one by a score of 3-2 and the Crusaders downed the Pioneers in game two, 9-7. Junior Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) also hit a three-run home run in the triumph.
Taylor Parsons got the Red Flash on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a lead-off home run down the right field line. St. Francis scored two more runs in the bottom of the third inning as the Red Flash hit three singles in the frame to make the score 3-0 after three. Junior pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) would shut down the home team for the remainder of the game, allowing just two hits over the final three innings, giving the Crusaders a chance in the top of the seventh.
Junior Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) led off the final stanza with a double to left field. Freshman Colleen Ahern (Northbrook, Ill.) then stepped to the plate and launched her second career home run over the right center field fence to bring the Crusader within one run. St. Francis hurler Chelsea Rex was able to retire the next three batters in a row, however, as the Red Flash came away with a 3-2 victory.
Rex (3-1) recorded the win, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out 10. Barrett (0-3) suffered the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits while striking out three.
Sacred Heart took advantage of a Holy Cross error in the top of the first inning to plate its first run of the game and take an early 1-0 lead. Holy Cross responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning as Free walked and Gustafson singled to the left side. With two outs and two on, Croushore launched her first home run of the season to put the Crusaders on top, 3-1.
Holy Cross freshman starting pitcher Gennifer Durham (Abbeville, S.C.) got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the second as Holy Cross added two more runs in bottom half of the inning. Senior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.) led off with a single, followed by a double by freshman Sarah Kane (Jacksonville, Fla.). Free doubled to score Rosenthal and sophomore Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) drove in Kane to increase the Holy Cross advantage to 5-1.
After a scoreless third inning, the Pioneers posted three runs in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to one, 5-4. The Crusaders responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the stanza. Vargas hit a two-out single and stole second. Freshman Emily Jarvis (Hopkinton, Mass.) followed with an RBI double and stole third. After a walk, Gustafson drove in Jarvis to make the score 7-4, Holy Cross.
The Crusaders put up two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings as Rosenthal hit a sacrifice fly to plate Croushore, who singled to lead off the inning, in the fifth and Free hit her first home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth. Sacred Heart took advantage of a Holy Cross error with two outs in the top of the seventh allowing Nicole Sidor to hit a three-run homer and cut the lead to 9-7, but the Crusaders escaped with their first victory of 2013.
Durham (1-1) received the win going six and two-thirds innings while allowing seven runs (three earned) and striking out one. Barrett came on for the final out and recorded her first save of the season. Adrianna Mallory (0-1) took the loss for the Pioneers, going six innings and allowin nine runs on 11 hits while striking out nine.
The Crusaders (1-5) will return to the field tomorrow, March 7, for a twin bill against Niagara (3:00 p.m.) and Grambling State (5:00 p.m.).