From University of Rochester Athletics
For the second straight season, the University of Rochester softball team earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Tournament.
On Saturday, Rochester defeated Union College 5-0 to complete a dominating performance.
Top seeded UR (27-11) shutout all three of its opponents in the tournament, defeating Skidmore 5-0 in the opening round, RPI 6-0 in the semifinals and then Union by a 5-0 score on Saturday. With the loss, Union's season ends with a record of 15-20.
Senior Brittany Grage was named the tournament MVP after leading UR in the circle for the second straight day. She tossed another shutout, allowing just four hits with no walks and three strikeouts. The senior took sole possession of first place in UR history with her 20th solo shutout during her four years.
The Yellowjackets were able to jump on Union starter Allyson Staats in the first inning, getting out to a quick 3-0 lead. With two on and two out, freshman Gabriela Alatorre lined a hard double to left field scoring pinch runner Laurelle Byrne-Cody and Grage. The next hitter, freshman Jocelynn Blackshear then singled to run and when the ball was bobbled by the defender, allowed Alatorre to scamper home for the three run lead.
Union was able to bring the tying run to the plate in the 5th inning after two out singles from Linsey Cohen and Brianna Godlewski, but Grage would end the threat by striking out Becca Kaufman swinging.
In the bottom of the inning, Blackshear picked up two RBI after lining a double down the right field line, scoring Grage and sophomore Eleni Wechsler who each led off the inning with singles. Blackshear finished as the tournament leader with 7 RBI, more than doubling her total of six from the regular season. She, along with Wechsler and Alatorre, joined Grage as Rochester's All-Tournament team representatives.
Union's Courtney Casey led off the sixth with a double, but was quickly erased trying to advance to third on a fielders choice, ending that scoring chance. That followed with a 1-2-3 7th from Grage to seal UR's 5th straight victory and 3rd Liberty League Tournament title.
Grage finished 2-2 at the plate with 2 runs and a walk for UR while Blackshear was 2-3 with 2 RBI and a double. Alatorre finished 1-2 with a run and two batted in.
Union's Staats tossed every inning of the Dutchwomen's tournament, finishing with 6 innings of 7 hit ball on Saturday allowing 5 runs (3 earned) with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. She ended with a tournament high 26 innings and 11 strikeouts in the circle. Staats, along with teammates Cohen and Camile Corbin were named to the All-Tournament Team. Two other players, Lauren Fortunato from Skidmore and Danielle Balestrini from RPI were also All-Tournament selections.