From University of Rochester Athletics
Rochester took advantage of its chances by scoring seven unearned runs in an 8-0 victory over Penn St.-Behrend in the NCAA Division III Softball Championships at St. John Fisher College on Friday afternoon.
The Yellowjackets move into the winner's part of the bracket and will face Fisher, a 3-0 winner over PS-Behrend in the first game of the afternoon. Rochester's victory in the double-elimination event knocked PS-B out of the tournament. The Lions finished 27-13. Rochester improved to 27-21 with the win.
On Saturday, Rochester and Fisher (both are 1-0), will play at 1 pm. Regardless of which team wins the 1 pm game, the same two teams will play again at 3:30. The pod has been reduced to a best two-of-three event between the Yellowjackets and the Cardinals. If a third game is required, it will be played on Sunday. The winner of the Fisher bracket will face the winner of a four-team pod being hosted by The College of New Jersey. That comes in the Super Regional Round. Super Regional winners advance to the final eight in Salem, VA at the end of the month.
Rochester's offensive output overlooked a strong pitching performance by Eleni Wechsler. She spun a five-inning no hitter. It was her second no-hitter in the last nine days; she no-hit RIT in the opening round of the Liberty League playoffs on May 5. It is Wechsler's third career no-hitter.
She walked one, struck out one, and got 11 outs on ground balls. Five of those were comebackers. She threw 57 pitches, 39 for strikes.
In its defense, Penn St.-Behrend battled gamely with St. John Fisher in the opener, but was victimized by a 14-strikeout performance by Fisher sophomore Lindsay Thayer. Rachel Miller got the game one start for the Lions and left after the sixth inning down 1-0. SJFC clubbed a two-run HR off her reliever in the seventh to ensure the win.
AJ Nichols started game two for PS-B and Rochester scored three in the bottom of the first. Kayla Kibling led off with a walk. After a strikeout, Wechsler pulled the ball down the third base line. Julia Luke made a good backhand play on it, but her throw to first pulled Madison Zimmer off the bag with Kibling moving to second. After another strikeout, Lauren Muni hit the first pitch she saw over the left field fence for a 3-0 lead.
In the Rochester third, another infield error – this one on a sac bunt by Wechslker with Harleigh Kaczegowicz on first after a single – kept a rally alive. A walk to Pletz loaded the bases with no outs. Muni forced Kaczegowicz at the plate. Jocelynn Blackshear hit a hopper off a leaping Luke's glove and down the left field line. Two runs scored, Muni went to third, and Blackshear took second on the throw. Pinch-hitter Gianni Melillo popped out to the catcher before Haberly Kahn lined a single to right center that plated Muni and Blackshear.
Muni led off the fifth with a single bounced through the left side of the infield. Laurelle Byrne-Cody (as the flex) ran for her. Nichols was relieved by Miller. She struck out Blackshear and got Caitlyn Price on an infield pop. With pinch-hitter Mackenzie Cronin at bat, Byrne-Cody stole second. Two pitches later (with the count 2-2), she stole third. The throw to the bag deflected 15 feet down the line and Byrne-Cody ran home with the eighth run that put the mercy rule into effect.