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Devils run SUNYAC mark to 6-0
Monday, April 06, 2015

Devils run SUNYAC mark to 6-0

The 2015 Blue Devils equalled the best conference start in Fredonia softball history with a doubleheader sweep April 4 of the Plattsburgh Cardinals.

This year's team improved to 6-0 in the conference -- and 9-8 overall -- with an 8-6 victory in the second game of the doubleheader. The Blue Devils also won the opener, 7-3.

The 2011 Blue Devils also started 6-0 in the conference. And like that team, which had several late-inning rallies, the current edition has already established a flair for the dramatic. They had three last at-bat wins during the past week, including Saturday's come-from-behind 8-6 victory in the nightcap.

With two outs and two strikes, freshman Maggie Paras (Florida, N.Y./S.S. Seward) lined a two-run double into the gap in left to erase Plattsburgh's 6-5 lead. Paras also delivered a walk-off hit which started the win streak against Geneseo earlier in the week.

Senior right-hander Kelsey Gannett (Endwell, N.Y./Union-Endicott) retired the side in order in the last of the seventh inning for her second win on the day. She pitched a complete-game five-hitter in Game 1, allowing two earned runs, walking one, and striking out seven. She relieved in Game 2 and retired 9 of 10 batters, five on strikes, to improve to 5-2.

Plattsburgh did most of its damage by way of the long ball. Dominique Zummo and Brittany Marshall hit back-to-back jacks in the first game. While the homers trimmed Fredonia's lead to 5-3 at the time, the Blue Devils added two insurance runs in the seventh inning.

With runners on first and second with two outs, junior Madeline Medina (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) lined a single to center. The hit brought in one run -- Medina's third RBI of the game -- and a throwing error on the play brought home the second run.

Other key Fredonia hitters in the first game were senior Cherise Gunnell (Falconer, N.Y./Falconer) with two hits and three runs scored, junior Lindsey Forness (Allegany, N.Y./Allegany-Limestone) with two hits and two runs scored, senior Kate Nicholson (Heuvelton, N.Y./Heuvelton) with two hits, and junior Alyssa Morgan (Homer, N.Y./Homer) and sophomore Erin Mushtare (Oneonta, N.Y./Oneonta) with one RBI each.

Plattsburgh's Kelsey Gage homered in her first two at-bats during Game 2. The second came in the fourth to pull her team within one run, 4-3. Only this time, the Blue Devils could not hold the fort. The Cardinals scored three runs in the fifth to take a 6-5 lead. Behind the relief pitching of Taylor Smith, they were poised to end Fredonia's win streak.

The Blue Devils had other ideas. Morgan got things going with a one-out single to left-center, her third hit of the game. Jess Lauck (Buffalo, N.Y./Kenmore West) followed with a single to center. Lauck advanced to third and Lauck to second on the throw.

Smith had worked out of jams in each of the previous two innings -- bases loaded in the fifth, a runner on third and one out in the sixth -- and was poised to do it again. She induced an infield ground out with neither runner advancing for the second out, then got Paras to chase two low pitches to get ahead in the count.

Down to her last strike, Paras lined Smith's 1-2 offering into the left-center gap. Morgan and pinch-runner Izzy Simon (Macedon, N.Y./Penfield) came across for the tying and go-ahead runs. A single by sophomore Maddy Stavish (Olean, N.Y./Olean) brought home Paras with an insurance run.

While the game was played in Fredonia, Plattsburgh was the scheduled home team -- their field was unplayable this weekend, necessitating a trip to Western New York -- so the Cardinals had the last at-bat. Yet Gannett was in good rhythm and retired the first hitter on a called strike three and the next two on balls hit into the air. Freshman left fielder Lauren Pixley (Hamburg, N.Y./Frontier) secured the final out with a catch of a looping, windblown flyball near the foul line.

In addition to her three hits, Morgan scored two runs and had two RBI in Game 2. Stavish also had two hits.

The Blue Devils are scheduled for a April 7 doubleheader at Rochester Institute of Technology before resuming SUNYAC play April 8 with a home doubleheader vs. Brockport.

The two losses dropped Plattsburgh to 1-5 in SUNYAC and 6-14 overall.

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