WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team was defeated by the visiting Emmanuel College Saints, 5-2, in First Round action of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Softball Tournament Wednesday afternoon at the USJ Softball Field. With the win, the No. 7 Saints (22-16) advance to the GNAC Quarterfinals for the third time in four years while the No. 6 Blue Jays wrap up their 2018 campaign with an overall record of 23-16.
Score: University of Saint Joseph - 2, Emmanuel College - 5
Records: USJ (23-16), EC (22-16)
Location: West Hartford, Conn. - USJ Softball Field
Date: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Saints got on the board early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead on a two-run blast to left centerfield by junior first baseman Ashely Skey (Brookline, N.H.) for her fourth home run of the season.
- EC junior ace Megan Kieselback (Wethersfield, Conn.) protected the lead early, striking out the side in the second to keep the lead at 2-0.
- Junior catcher Casey Sheehan (Medway, Mass.) made the Blue Jays pay for an error in the third, driving in an unearned run with an RBI single up the middle to bump the lead to 3-0.
- USJ sophomore pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) retired the Saints in order in the top of the fourth, needing only six pitches to retire the side, and keep the hosts within striking distance.
- Sharon then led off the bottom of the fourth with the first hit of the afternoon for USJ on a grounder up the middle and came around to score on a clutch two-out RBI single to right by junior infielder Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) to cut the score to 3-1.
- EC freshman third baseman Emily Blanchard (Sturbridge, Mass.) led off the fifth with a single and came around to score on a safety squeeze by sophomore centerfielder Sarah Hoisl (West Hartford, Conn.) to move the Saints' lead back to three, 4-1.
- In the bottom of the fifth, USJ junior Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) lead off the inning with a single and came around to score on a two-out pinch-hit RBI single by freshman Amanda Thiel (Torrington, Conn.), cutting the lead in half, 4-2.
- The Saints added an insurance run in the seventh as sophomore Yuleska Ramirez-Tejeda (South Boston, Mass.) led off the frame with a triple down the right-field line and came around to score on an RBI single to right by Sheehan for the 5-2 final margin.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Kieselback improves to 9-8 on the year after going the distance for the Saints and scattering four hits while striking out seven in the win.
- Sharon suffered the loss and ends the year with an overall record of 12-11.
- The home run by Skey was the 18th of her career with the Saints, a program record, and marks the fourth consecutive GNAC playoff game that an Emmanuel player has homered in dating back to the 2016 postseason.
- Freshman Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) came on in relief to get the final five outs and recorded four strikeouts in the process.
The Saints advance into the double-elimination portion of the 2018 GNAC Softball Tournament and will face No. 3 Simmons College tomorrow afternoon on the Johnson & Wales University campus at 3:00 p.m. The loss concludes the 2018 campaign for the Blue Jays.