March 15, 2011

Spartans Split Home Opener With Susquehanna

YORK, PA  - The York College softball squad opened up their 2011 home campaign with a non-conference split against Susquehanna University on a chilly Tuesday afternoon in York. The Crusaders won game one 4-1 in eight innings before the Spartans rebounded to capture the nightcap, 2-1.

York is now 9-5 overall while Susquehanna stands at 7-3 after the split.

In game one, Cara Swerdlow was outstanding in the circle for the Crusaders. She handcuffed the Spartans the entire game as she worked the ball on both sides of the plate to keep York in check. The Spartans did not have a base hit until the eighth inning.

The Crusaders were able to register hits against Spartan starter Brittany Therres but the junior kept Susquehanna off the board through seven innings. Susquehanna had their best chance in the third on an error and a bunt hit. However, Therres got two strikeouts and a ground out to end the threat. Susquehanna again put two runners on in the fourth but Therres extracted herself from the situation with a pair of groundouts.

The Spartans somehow escaped the seventh without Susquehanna scoring, thanks to some bad base running by the Crusaders. Kim Rubino led off the inning with a single but was lifted for a pinch runner. Liz Beecroft then laid down a nice sacrifice bunt but pinch runner Courtney Miller made a wide turn at second base. Spartan first baseman Michelle Barwick wisely threw behind Miller and the Green and White got the second out. Susquehanna got back to back hits following the base running error but freshman Chelsea Bock relieved Therres and got the final out of the inning to preserve the scoreless tie.

The Spartans couldn't get anything going in the seventh as the teams headed to an extra frame. In the eighth, the international tiebreaker took effect and the Crusaders took advantage of the extra base runner. Susquehanna scored four runs on three hits with a Spartan error, as the only suspense left in the contest was whether the Spartans would get a base hit off Swerdlow.

That drama came to an end with the first batter of the eighth as Erin O'Leary singled sharply to left, putting runners at the corners with no outs. The Spartans then had some bad luck as Desiree Halaka lined into a double play with O'Leary getting caught too far off first. Senior Kelly Smith, who was placed on second to start the inning, kept the Spartans from being shutout as she scored on a wild pitch, providing for the final score.

Rubino had four hits with two RBI while Lisa Finizio and Taylor Crawford each contributed two hits to the Crusader attack. Shelley Landis added a hit and a pair of RBI for Susquehanna.

York had just three base runners in the first game as senior Karen Carr walked in the first in addition to the two runners in the seventh.

Swerdlow allowed an unearned run on one hit with six strikeouts and a walk. Therres tossed 7.2 shutout innings as she scattered nine hits with six strikeouts. Bock was tagged with the loss as she allowed four runs, three earned, on two hits and a walk.

The nightcap started off with a bang in the bottom of the first as Carr led off the inning with her first collegiate home run, a moon shot deep over the scoreboard in left.

The Crusaders loaded the bases in the second but were unable to score as Bock relieved Therres with one out and the bases loaded. Bock got out of the inning as the Spartans maintained their slim lead.

Susquehanna tied the game in the fifth on a Brennan Balfour RBI triple to deep center but Bock was able to strand Balfour at third courtesy of a ground out.

York captured the lead in the bottom of the frame as pinch runner Jill Martin scored on a wild pitch.

The Crusaders got a runner to third with one out in the sixth but couldn't score as Bock made some key pitches to preserve the lead. Susquehanna had one runner in the seventh but again; the Spartans' freshman left-hander was strong at the end of the game to earn her fourth win of the year.

Bock earned the win in relief as she allowed a run on six hits with three strikeouts. Therres started and allowed three hits in her 1.1 innings of work.

Sarah Hoffman took the loss for the Crusaders as she allowed two runs on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings of work.

Carr led the Spartans as she was 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored with her home run. Halaka was 1-for-2 while Smith had the Spartans' other hit in the game.

Brittany Devlin was 3-for-3 for Susquehanna while Balfour had the Crusaders' lone RBI in the loss.

The Spartans are now off until next Wednesday when they host Wesley in a Capital Athletic Conference doubleheader. Game one is slated for a 3:30 pm first pitch.

Karen Carr photo courtesy of Zach Clabaugh - www.sharpedgefoto.com