KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Simmons College softball team scored three times in the sixth and once in the eighth to complete a comeback 4-3 upset victory over nationally-ranked number two Saint John Fisher College this afternoon in the Citrus Games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. The Sharks improve to 3-7 on the season, while the Cardinals, who are ranked in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, fall to 8-2. The outcome marks the highest-ranked opponent that Simmons has ever beaten.
Sophomore Alexandra Moleski (Bridgeport, Conn.) led Simmons, going 2-3 with two runs batted in, while first year shortstop Ashley Lynch (Shrewsbury, Mass.) was 1-3 with two runs scored. Sophomore third baseman Taylor LeBrun (Milford, Mass.) was 1-3 with a run scored as well. Junior hurler Juliet Nelson (Cumberland, R.I.) earned the victory in relief to improve to 3-2 on the season after giving up one run on three hits and a walk in two and two-thirds innings of work. Sophomore starting southpaw Michaela Reeves (Reading, Mass.) allowed two runs on five hits and a walk to go with a strikeout in five and a third innings for the Sharks.
Sophomore first baseman Sarah Kubik (Orchard Park, N.Y.) led Saint John Fisher with a 2-3 day at the plate, while smacking a double, driving in two runs and scoring a run. First year designated player Jessica Sardina (Whitesboro, N.Y.) was 1-2 with a walk and a run scored to contribute for the Cardinals. Junior reliever Lindsey Thayer (Saint Lawrence, N.Y.) (5-2) suffered the loss, allowing an unearned run on no hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts and a wild pitch in one and a third innings of relief. Sophomore starting hurler Monica Moses (Olean, N.Y.) gave up three unearned runs on four hits and fanned eight batters in six innings.
Simmons took advantage of three hits and an error to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot the contest at 3-3. Lynch led off the frame with a single to right field, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, to third on a ground out and scored when first year center fielder Molly Hennessey (Charlton, Mass.) reached on an error to put the Sharks on the board at 3-1. LeBrun followed with a single down the left field line to put runners on first and second, before a wild pitch put both runners in scoring position. Moleski came through with a two-run single through the left side to tie the game at three-all.
The game remained tied after seven innings to force extra frames. Simmons held the Cardinals scoreless in the top of the eighth and came to the plate in the bottom of the inning looking for the upset. Lynch began the inning on second base as part of the international tie-breaker rule and moved to third on a one-out wild pitch. Del Vacchio followed by putting down a two-strike bunt in front of the plate with Lynch racing toward the plate on contact. Lynch avoided the tag at the plate and scored the deciding run to give the Sharks the walk-off victory.
Saint John Fisher broke open a scoreless game with the first runs of the contest in the top of the sixth. Sophomore center fielder Julie Sortisio (Lancaster, N.Y.) roped a single to left field to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sardina drew a walk to put runners on the corners to set up a two-run double to right center field off the bat of Kubik to give the Cardinals a 2-0 margin. Kubik was pushed to third on a single by junior shortstop Danielle Ventrone (East Syracuse, N.Y.). Ventrone then challenged the Simmons defense by stealing second and induced an errant throw that led to Kubik scoring the third run of the frame for Saint John Fisher.
The Sharks return to the diamond for a noon doubleheader at number 23 Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Saturday, March 18 in Cambridge, Mass. for their fifth and sixth games vs. a nationally-ranked opponent in 12 outings, while the Cardinals host University of Pittsburgh at Bradford on the same day for a twinbill at 1:00 p.m.