AMHERST, MA –Fourth-seeded Keene State (26-10-1, 10-4 LEC) scored four unanswered runs to capture a 4-2 victory over #5 Saint Joseph's (33-8, 23-3 GNAC) in the second game of the 2012 Amherst, Mass. Softball Regional on Thursday.
Tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Keene junior catcher Nicole Dupuis (Fitchburg, Mass.) belted a two-run homer to lift the owls to the important first-round win. Completing the Owls' comeback with the go-ahead, two-run blast in the fifth, Dupuis finished with three RBI, while Katie Bradford (Lebanon, N.H.) went 2-for-4.
Senior center fielder Emily Leverone (Hampton, N.H.) paced the SJC offensive attack, going 1-for-3 with a homer of her own in the third, while sophomore Theresa Hendrix (Scarborough, Maine/Cheverus) and freshman Kim Jordan (Bangor, Maine) each had a 1-for-3 day.
Saint Joseph's returns to action on Friday afternoon when the Monks face #8 Keuka College - which fell to top-seeded SUNY-Cortland in the first game of the double-elimination tournament - in a 1:00 PM start. The Owls will face Cortland in game number seven of the regional tournament at 5:00 PM on Friday.
Keene senior starter Emily Albin (Bethel, Conn.) went the distance to improve to 12-4, surrendering just two runs on four hits, while senior counterpart Maddie Kluna (Standish, Maine) allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits to fall to 11-5.
Looking to get the Monks started in the top of the second, Hendrix roped a lead-off double into the right centerfield gap. With the game's first runner in scoring position, Albin bore down, striking out Maria Labbe (Lewiston, Maine), popping up Kluna and sitting down Jordan to momentarily keep St. Joe's off the board.
Drawing a lead-off walk in the following frame, junior right fielder Danyelle Shufelt (Sutton, Vt.) moved to second on a Connie Grovo (Limington, Maine) sacrifice bunt before taking third on a wild pitch. Hoping to plate the Monks' first run, Leverone hammered a towering homer to left, staking Saint Joseph's to a 2-0 lead.
Hoping to respond in the bottom of the inning, Jessica Fiorenza (Wakefield, Mass.) reached on an error at first before consecutive Haley Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) and Bradford bunt singles loaded the bases. Striking out Sara Stocklinski (Newton, N.J.), Kluna got Laura Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) to hit a grounder to third for what looked to be the second out, but a St. Joe's error allowed Fiorenza to come home. Lifting a deep fly ball to center, Dupuis brought in a tagging Haley Chandler to tie the game, but Kluna quickly regrouped, striking out Kayla Joyce (Bridgewater, Mass.) to avoid any further damage.
Still tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Stocklinski singled to center before moving to second on a Laura Chandler sacrifice. With another Owl in scoring position, Dupuis got a hold of a Kluna offering, depositing the ball over the left field fence to give Keene its first lead of the afternoon.
Down two in the top of the seventh, Jordan tripled into gap in right, giving the Monks some life. Hoping to protect the Keene lead, Albin got Shufelt to fly out to center before striking out Grovo to put the Owls on the verge of victory. Quickly getting ahead 2-0 on Leverone, Albin shut the door on the Monks' rally by inducing a fly ball to right.
COURTESY OF AMHERST COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION
Saint Joseph's College, founded in 1912 by the Sisters of Mercy, celebrates its Centennial year in 2012 with a theme of "Realize the Promise" – honoring our commitment to educating well-rounded graduates who combine career focus with classic liberal arts studies. A Private, Catholic, primarily residential, coeducational liberal arts institution, Saint Joseph's welcomes students of all ages and all faiths. The campus, located 18 miles northwest of Portland and just two hours from Boston, encompasses 350 acres along the shore of beautiful Sebago Lake in Standish, Maine. Enrollment ranges between 1,000 and 1,100 students annually. Saint Joseph's offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences, education, nursing and business fields in a value-centered environment.