KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Holy Cross softball team finished up action at the Rebel Spring Games on Friday afternoon, falling to St. Francis (Pa.), 10-7 and Akron, 9-5. The Crusaders will return north with a record of 3-7 after tallying 52 runs and 71 hits over 10 games in Florida, including nine home runs.
St. Francis jumped out to an early lead and never looked back in the second match-up of the week between the Red Flash and the Crusaders. St. Francis posted three runs in the top of the first thanks to a RBI double by Chelsy Cosentino and two-run home run by Karlie Miller. The Red Flash added three more runs in the top of the second to begin the game with a 6-0 advantage.
After two scoreless innings, the Red Flash added another run in the top of the fifth and three in the top of the seventh to take a 10-0 lead. Holy Cross never gave up and made things interesting in the final half inning of action, plating seven runs. Senior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.) hit a two-run RBI double and junior Sarah Free (Claremont, Calif.) and freshman Colleen Ahern (Northbrook, Ill.) also recorded one RBI each. The sloppy final frame consisted of four walks, three St. Francis errors and two batters hit by a pitch. With the Crusaders trailing 10-7, the Red Flash were able to escape without any more damage and post their 10th win of the season.
Freshman hurler Gennifer Durham (Abbeville, S.C.) took the loss to move to 2-2 on the season. She went four innings allowing six runs on nine hits. Freshman Mary Stuckey (Dumont, N.J.) pitched three innings in relief, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits. Brook Koch (1-2) received the win going six and one-third innings allowing seven runs (zero earned) and striking out three. Chelsea Rex tallied the final two outs of the game to earn her first save of the season.
After a scoreless first inning, Akron third baseman Shawna Hochstetler led off the bottom of the second inning with a double to left field and came around to score on a fielder's choice to make the score 1-0, Zips. The home team added to its advantage in the bottom of the third, posting four runs on a two-run RBI double by Hochstetler and two-run home run by Jessica Schneider, making the score 5-0 after three.
The Zips took advantage of two Holy Cross errors in the bottom of the fourth to plate three more runs and make the score 8-0. The Crusaders finally got on the board in the top of the fifth as freshman Sarah Kane (Jacksonville, Fla.) reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a groundout. The freshman then stole third and scored on a single by fellow classmate Hailey Mullen (Plainville, Mass.), marking Mullen's first career run batted in.
The top of the sixth was a big inning for HC as two singles and three walks resulted in four runs for the Crusaders. Sophomore Emma Keough (Rochester, Mass.), Kane and sophomore Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) each picked up a RBI to cut the lead down to 8-5, but that would be all the scoring for Holy Cross. The Zips made the final count, 9-5, after a RBI single by Schneider in the bottom of the sixth.
Alissa Birkhimer (4-3) received the win as the starting pitcher going five complete innings and striking out four. MacKenzie Conrad and Erin Seiler also saw time in the circle. Senior Jenna Legros (Sandy Hook, Conn.) took the loss for Holy Cross and moves to 0-2, going six innings allowing nine runs (five earned) and striking out one batter.
The Crusaders will return to action on Friday, March 15, at the Stony Brook Invitational. Holy Cross will face Yale in game one at 9:30 a.m. and Providence in game two at 1:30 p.m.