PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The third-seeded University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team dropped an 11-3 decision in five innings to second-seeded Johnson & Wales University (JWU), in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Semifinal matchup Thursday afternoon at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Athletic Complex (SMAC) Softball Field.
Junior left fielder Frankie Ferrante (Southington, Conn.) and junior right fielder Ashlee White (Bristol, Conn.) had an RBI each to lead the way for the Blue Jays. Ferrante's came on a rocket double to left field in the third inning to open the scoring for USJ. Senior third baseman Jill Pulek (Cheshire, Conn.), the GNAC's top hitter at .467, was 2-for-2 at the plate Thursday with three runs scored for Johnson & Wales.
The Wildcats jumped on the Blue Jays early with six runs across the first two innings. Facing elimination, Saint Joseph fought back with three runs in the third and fourth, but JWU kept at it and answered with three more runs in the fourth, followed by a two-run home run in the fifth to end the game under the mercy rule. The semifinal setback ends the Blue Jays quest for a second straight GNAC crown.
COACH QUOTE [Jim McKinnon]
"You can't give a good team like [Johnson & Wales] extra outs, but I really liked our spirit when we didn't give up and battled to the very end. This season was hard on [us] all, but we came to work every day, practiced hard, finished third in the regular season and got to the semifinals. I am proud to be their coach."
Score: #3 Saint Joseph 3, #2 Johnson & Wales 11 - 5 Innings
Location: SMAC Softball Field | Providence, R.I.
Notes: GNAC Semifinal
- The Wildcats led the GNAC with an impressive 186 runs scored and a .373 team batting average. They hit 13-for-26 (.500) Thursday afternoon.
- Saint Joseph pitching allowed just three home runs all season before the walk-off bomb by senior catcher Devin Scales (Mount Airy, Md.) in the fifth.
- The loss snaps the Blue Jays five-game GNAC playoff win streak.
NUMBER TO KNOW
7 – The Wildcats knocked seven hits in play during the first two innings. The Blue Jays had just seven hits for the game.
IN THE CIRCLE
- USJ – Junior Natalie Amato (Cheshire, Conn.), who led the GNAC in ERA (0.16) and allowed only one earned run all season (42 straight innings without an earned run entering Tuesday), was dealt her first loss of the season (7-1), allowing six runs (2 ER) on six hits in an inning and two thirds of work. Senior captain Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) allowed five runs on seven hits in the final two and two-third innings of her career.
- JWU – Sophomore Livia Feole (Cranston, R.I.) secured the win (6-3), allowing three runs (2 ER) on seven hits in five innings of work. She struck out a pair.
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