From University of Rochester Athletics
Rochester opened the 2016 Liberty League softball season with a doubleheader split against Union College on Saturday afternoon. The Yellowjackets won the opener, 7-2, before Union rallied to win the nitecap, 7-6.
Rochester is 8-14 overall, 1-1 with the split. The Yellowjackets play at RPI on Sunday. Union is 4-10, 1-1 in the Liberty League. These teams met for the Liberty League title in 2015 with Rochester winning.
In game one, Lauren Muni, Jocelyn Blackshear, and Mackenzie Cronin hit home runs to back the six-hit pitching of Eleni Wechsler. She allowed two runs (one earned), walked four, and fanned six to get her fifth win of the season. It was her seventh complete-game victory.
Muni was 3-3 with two RBIs, a double, and a home run. Cronin, who came on as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning and stayed in left field, was 2-2, scored twice, doubled, and homered. Harleigh Kaczegowicz was 2-4 behind the plate and Kayla Kibling had two hits. In all, Rochester totaled 12 hits and three home runs.
Union scratched out an unearned run with two outs in the first inning, then scored on a bases-loaded single in the second for a 2-0 lead. Rochester broke through with three runs in the fourth. UR added three more in the sixth and a solo run in the seventh.
Muni got the Yellowjackets on the board in the fourth, homering to left. Haberly Kahn followed with a single to right. Pinch-hitters Cronin and Gianni Melillo hit back to back doubles. Cronin's two-bagger sent Kahn to third and both women scored on Melillo's double to center. That put Rochester ahead, 3-2.
The Yellowjackets tacked on three more in the sixth. Muni doubled. Blackshear followed with a two-run home run and two batters later, Cronin homered. In the seventh, Kaczegowicz singled, moved up on a groundout, and scored on Muni's double.
Game two was a dizzying back-and-forth mix. Rochester scored single runs in the first and third, before Union plated two in the bottom of the third. Each team scored in the fifth (tied 3-3). Rochester edged ahead with two in the sixth, but Union scored four times in the bottom of the sixth – two of those were unearned – to pull ahead. Rochester scored one run in the seventh before the Dutchwomen could close out the win.
Cronin had RBIs on the first two Rochester runs. She singled home one in the first, then made it 2-0 with a sac fly in the third. She singled in a three-hit rally in the fifth which gave Rochester a 3-2 lead (before Union tied it).
In the sixth, pinch-hitter Elizabeth Bourne doubled with one down. Kibling doubled her home, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Kaczegowicz. She had three hits in the first six innings. Dolinko relieved and retired two straight – Wechsler on a flyout and Muni on a strikeout to end it.
Union strung together four straight hits in its half of the sixth. Coupled with a fielding error that let in two unearned runs, the Dutchwomen had a 7-5 lead heading into the UR seventh.
Cronin singled and Shelby Corning ran for her. Rachael Pletz walked and Caitlyn Price ran for her. Blackshear singled to center, loading the bases. Haberly Kahn singled to right, scoring Corning and cutting the deficit to 7-6. Byrne-Cody grounded to Dani Hennel at second. She threw home to Dolinko to force Price at the plate for the first out. Dolinko wriggled out of the jam, getting Kibling on a flyout to center and retiring Kaczegowicz on a comebacker.