From University of Rochester Athletics
The University of Rochester advanced to the Super Regionals of
the NCAA Division III Softball Championships by taking two games
from Alfred University on Sunday in the double-elimination
tournament. The Yellowjackets won the opener, 4-1, and took the
Rochester (30-12) moves into the Super Regionals next weekend with the opponent and the site to be determined by the NCAA Division III Softball Committee. Alfred concluded its season at 29-12.
Tayler Fravel scored three runs in the first game for the Yellowjackets, two on wild pitches. Brittany Grage scattered seven hits, walked two, and struck out four to pick up her 16th win of the season (16-6). She allowed one earned run.
In the nitecap, Eleni Wechsler scattered three hits, struck out seven, and did not issue a walk. She is 14-4.
Alison Wickwire took the loss in both games for Alfred. In the opener, she allowed the Yellowjackets to five hits, allowed four earned runs, walked five, and struck out nine. In game two, she allowed six hits, three earned runs (six overall), walked four, and struck out four.
The Yellowjackets won three straight elimination games to advance. Alfred defeated Rochester, 8-7, in the winners' bracket on Saturday. The Saxons scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to win. Rochester defeated Messiah College, 4-3, later on Saturday to advance to Sunday's finals. The Yellowjackets had to win Sunday's opener just to have the opportunity to play the second game.
"This was somewhat reminiscent of last week," said Rochester's Nina Korn. "We really wanted that first game (Sunday) going inning by inning."
Rochester clinched an automatic bid out of the Liberty League last week by winning the LL Tournament with four straight must-win games in the elimination bracket. The Yellowjackets have now won seven straight elimination games.
Game One – Rochester 4, Alfred 1:
Korn doubled home Fravel in the first inning, then was walked twice intentionally in her other plate appearances. Rochester nibbled for a second run in the third. With one out, Fravel doubled off the top of the left field fence and was bunted to third by Meghan Hennessy.
That brought up Korn and Alfred coach Gino Olivieri ordered an intentional walk. Wickwire's first pitch was high and off the glove of catcher Jasmine Picini. Fravel slid home with the second run.
In the fourth, Lauren Muni and Grage walked. Alyssa Murillo pushed a bunt to the left side, past the dive of shortstop Nicole Maher. Pinch-runner Laurelle Byrne-Cody scored from second base. Grage was thrown out heading for third. Murillo took second. Wickwire escaped further trouble by getting pinch hitter Ashley Amidon to pop up and slipping strike three past Tiffany White.
"She's worked so hard from the fall season," Olivieri said of Wickwire. "She's pitching this year, not throwing. When she can throw her change-up for a strike, she's very effective."
Alfred put two runners aboard in the top of the fourth – singles by Nicole Maher and Picini, but Grage struck out Nora Passuite, retired Alyson Hampton on an infield fly, and got Rachel Guszick to ground out.
The Saxons broke onto the scoreboard in the fifth. With two outs and Dana Torchia on first, Wickwire walked. Maher singled to left to score Torchia. Wickwire reached third and Maher second when the ball got away in the outfield. Grage retired Picini on a fly to right.
Rochester got the run back in its half of the fifth. Fravel tripled down the right field line. Hennessy struck out and Korn was walked intentionally. With Wechsler at bat, Wickwire uncorked another wild pitch and Fravel scored.
Grage closed out the win by retiring six of the last seven hitters she faced.
"I expected our pitchers to come out they way they did," said Rochester head coach Margaret Yerdon-Grange. "I didn't think they threw their best against Alfred (on Saturday)."
Game Two – Rochester 6, Alfred 0
The Yellowjackets scored three runs in the first inning – two unearned – to surge in front. Rochester managed six hits off Wickwire, two by Fravel, who scored twice. In the two games, she was 4-5 combined with five runs scored.
Fravel singled. Hennessy and Korn walked. Wechsler grounded to third. The throw home was high and off the catcher's glove to the backstop. Fravel and Hennessy scored. Korn reached third and Wechsler went to second. Muni flied to left, scoring Korn.
In the third, Korn was hit by a pitch. A wild pitch moved her to second. With two outs, Grage looped a single down the right field line and Korn scored.
The Yellowjackets added two runs in the sixth on two hits, a walk, and two errors – all coming with two outs. Fravel singled and Hennessy walked. Korn singled through the right side for an RBI and Hennessy went to third. Wechsler's grounder to the left side was booted, allowing Hennessy to score. Muni's head-high pop to the right side was dropped, loading the bases. Wickwire retired Grage on a fly to center to end the inning.
Wechsler had two three-up, three-down innings over the first four. In the second, Maher reached when her fly ball was dropped. In the third, Hampton singled to short. Guszick tried to bunt. Korn dove to catch it, then threw to Fravel doubling off Hampton. Stephanie Arguello singled and Passuite reached when her grounder deflected off Wechsler's glove. Torchia fouled out to Korn to end the threat.
Over the last three innings, she allowed two baserunners – a two-out single in the fifth and a hit batsman in the sixth. The game ended on three straight groundouts.
"It was rough knowing we should have won yesterday," Wechsler said. "We were a lot more focused. We had to play our 'A' game."
"Eleni threw a great second game," Korn said. "She's a very relaxed person to begin with and she was just very relaxed today."
Olivieri knew he would have a battle on his hands. "U of R is a very good team," he said. "They weren't going to lay down. No question about it. Rochester came to play. They deserve to go (to the next round).
Wechsler was selected as the regional's Most Outstanding Player. She was 5-15 at the plate with five RBIs, including a home run. In 11 innings pitched, she allowed 10 hits, five runs (four earned), walked, three, and struck out 11.
Stephanie Bagniewski (Marywood)
Courtney Allen (Messiah)
Claressa Mees (Messiah)
Nicole Maher (Alfred)
Allison Wickwire (Alfred)
Alyson Hampton (Alfred)
Brittany Grage (Rochester)
Nina Korn (Rochester)
Tayler Fravel (Rochester)
Most Outstanding Player: Eleni Wechsler (Rochester)