Owls Upset Top Seed SUNY Cortland 2-1 in NCAA Regionals
AMHERST, Mass. 5/11/12 – After earning their first victory in the NCAA Regional's since 2007 on Thursday, the Keene State College softball team upset top seeded and No. 14 ranked SUNY Cortland, 2-1, at the Amherst Regional on Friday evening.
"We watched Cortland play their game yesterday," said KSC head coach Charlie Beach. "After watching them play we thought we could give them a game and we did. This is a huge win for us."
Advancing in the regional tournament, Keene State (27-10-1) will play the winner of Amherst College and SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Lord Jeff's and the Cardinals will play the first game on Saturday, at 9 a.m. SUNY Cortland (39-9) moves into the loser's bracket, and will play the University of New England at 11 a.m. tomorrow in an elimination game.
Pitching the Owls out of trouble, senior reliever Samantha Pratt (Bristol, Conn.) entered the circle in the top of the sixth with a runner on second base and only one out, and retired five straight Red Dragons, to ensure the KSC victory. "That is just simply what she does," said Beach. "It is very valuable to have someone sit and wait to come in for those pressure situations and she did it very well in a big spot."
An absolute terror on the base-paths for the Owls, senior first-baseman Haley Chandler (Wakefield, Mass.) scored both of Keene State's runs, and finished the game with a walk, an infield single and two stolen bases in the win. "You can't make the mistake of letting Haley on base with no one in front of her," said Beach. "Cortland's catcher was good, and she couldn't throw her out at second base either time she stole."
KSC senior shortstop Katie Bradford (Lebanon, N.H.) was the lone hitter of the contest to collect multiple hits. Bradford's RBI-single in the third inning gave KSC a 1-0 advantage and she also had a single to left field in the bottom of the first inning.
Doing the damage in the fifth inning, senior designated player Sara Stocklinski (Newton, N.J.) hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Haley Chandler for the 2-0 advantage.
Not to be forgotten, senior starting pitcher Emily Albin (Bethel, Conn.) cruised through the game's first 5.1 innings, before allowing a homer to SUNY Cortland's Meaghan Kohler (Franklin, N.J.) in the top of the sixth inning to make it 2-1. "She was excellent today," said Beach. "She hit her spots all game and executed our game plan well. The homer she gave up, she put the ball exactly where I told her to again."
Pratt would then come in and close the door on the Red Dragons, to send the Owls into day three of the NCAA Amherst Regional at 2-0.
Albin improved to 13-4 in the win, allowing just three hits and one run while striking out four and walking three. Pratt, who pitched the final one and two-thirds innings, struck out one and induced three groundouts and a fly-out.
Red Dragon starter Abby Martin (Oswego, N.Y.) went five innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out five and walking two, to drop to 12-4 on the year. Morgan Kuhn (Wayland, N.Y.) pitched an inning of relief, striking out two Owls, in a perfect 1-2-3 sixth inning.
Juniors Kayla Joyce (Bridgewater, Mass.) and Nicole Dupuis (Fitchburg, Mass.) each had one hit for the Owls as well, but Dupuis also had a solid game behind the plate. "Catchers are invisible until they make a mistake," said Beach. "She has called some great games this year behind the plate, including the last two huge games we have won."