KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Junior Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) went five-for-seven with four runs batted in and two runs scored as the Holy Cross softball team swept a doubleheader against Niagara and Grambling State on Thursday afternoon at the Rebel Spring Games. The Crusaders defeated Niagara, 5-4, in game one and downed Grambling State, 15-8, in game two.
After a scoreless first inning in which Holy Cross had the bases loaded but could not score, the Crusaders got on the board in the bottom of the second inning as senior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.), who drew a lead-off walk, came around to score on a Purple Eagle error. Niagara responded in the top of the third, plating two runs on a solo home run by Ambur Farmer and RBI double by Alexis Wayne as Holy Cross fell behind, 2-1.
The Crusader deficit did not last long as Croushore drilled her second home run in as many games with two outs and one runner on in the bottom of the third to put HC back on top, 3-2. Holy Cross increased its lead in the bottom of the fifth as Croushore and freshman Sarah Kane (Jacksonville, Fla.) each notched RBI singles to make the score 5-2 in favor of the Crusaders. The Purple Eagles cut the lead to one in the top of the seventh as clean-up hitter Becky Zill hit a two-run homer, but it would not be enough as Holy Cross escaped with the victory, 5-4.
Freshman Gennifer Durham (Abbeville, S.C.) recorded the win and improves to 2-1 on the season. She went six and two-thirds innings and allowed four runs while striking out four. Barrett came on to record the final out for the second game in a row as she tallied her second save of the season. Kim Bryson suffered the loss for Niagara, going six innings while allowing six runs on eight hits and striking out 10.
Freshman Emily Jarvis (Hopkinton, Mass.) led off the game with a single and stolen base and junior Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) drove her in two batters later with a double. Croushore then brough Gustafson around with a two-out RBI single to give Holy Cross an early 2-0 lead. Three Crusaders combined to steal six bases in the top of the second as Jarvis picked up her second base-knock of the game and Kane and sophomore Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) reached on walks. All three base running threats came around to score and Holy Cross held a 5-0 lead after two complete innings.
Grambling State responded in the top of the third as Alyssa Fontillas hit a three-run home run after back-to-back singles by Briana Carmouche and Ashanti Joe, making the score 5-3. The Crusaders answered back in the top of the fourth as Kane, Jarvis and junior Sarah Free (Claremont, Calif.) circled the bases and Free and sophomore Emma Keough (Rochester, Mass.) each picked up a RBI to make the score 8-3, Holy Cross.
The Tigers took advantage of two Holy Cross errors in the bottom of the sixth to score five more runs and tie the score, 8-8. The stalemate did not last long as Holy Cross posted seven runs in the top of the seventh. The Crusaders opened the inning with the first career hit for freshman Kelsey Christensen (Hastings, Neb.), followed by three straight base knocks by Kane, Vargas and Jarvis. After two walks and a single by freshman Colleen Ahern (Northbrook, Ill.), Keough added the sixth base hit of the inning for HC and Kane added her second hit of the frame as Holy Cross eventually posted a final score of 15-8. Junior pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) retired the Tigers in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure Holy Cross' third straight victory.
Barrett (1-3) went seven complete innings and allowed eight runs (four earned) while striking out seven batters. Angela Perez suffered the loss in relief allowing seven runs on 10 hits. Jasmyn Dunning started the game and went four innings while allowing eight runs.
Holy Cross (3-5) will conclude the final day of Rebel Spring Games action tomorrow, March 8, against St. Francis (Pa.) and Akron. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.