Saint Joseph's Downs Temple To Advance To Atlantic 10 Softball Title Game
AMHERST, Mass. - The Saint Joseph's softball team is returning the the Atlantic 10 title game for the third time in five years as the Hawks topped Temple, 6-3, to advance to Saturday's title game.
Saint Joseph's will play Fordham at 10 a.m. tomorrow, with the second game scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The Hawks must beat the Rams twice to claim to A-10 crown and automatic NCAA bid.
Having fallen to the loser's bracket with an earlier loss to Fordham on Friday, the Hawks would face Temple in a must win situation.
The Owls wouldn't need much time to take the lead as Stephanie Pasquale got Temple (32-26) on the board in the top of the first with a two-run home run to left field off SJU pitcher Taryn Ashway. A one-out double by Kelsey Dominik chase Ashway as Liz Mendez came in two get two-straight outs and get the Hawks out of trouble.
Saint Joseph's (35-9-1) would strike back in the bottom of the second as second baseman Sarah Yoos led off with a single and moved to second as catcher Rochelle Christman drew a walk. With two on and no outs, first baseman Brandi Harkness drilled a deep three run home run over the wall in left center to give the Hawks a 3-2 edge.
Temple would tie the score in the top of the fourth on a costly error by the Hawks. Needing just one out to get out of trouble a throwing error by Mendez on a comebacker off the bat of Lacey McKeon allowed Devynne Nelons to score from second to knot it up at 3-3.
The Hawks would regain the lead in the bottom of the inning as Yoos scored from second on a two-out bloop single into left field by right fielder Maria Ficca to make it 4-3.
Senior Dana Parks followed with a hit to the right side of the infield. The speedy Parks would reach safely as the Temple second baseman would try to toss the ball to the first baseman, only to throw the ball over her head and up the rightfield line. On the errant throw, pinch runner Kerrie Kortmann would score from second and Ficca would come around to score from first as Parks advanced to third.
Up by three, Saint Joseph's defense and Mendez's pitching came through over the final three innings. Mendez got a big strike out with the bases loaded to end the fifth, while the defense behind her kept the Owls limited to just one runner in the final two innings to earn the win.
Going 6.2 innings, Mendez moves to 10-5 on the season. Picking up her second victory of the postseason, she allowed one unearned run on four hits, while striking out eight.
At the plate, Parks was 3-of-4, while Harkness accounted for three RBIs with her home run.Nicole Palase added a pair of hits, while Yoos went 1-for-1 with two runs scored.