CLERMONT, Fla.-Junior catcher Jessie Richardson wasn't quite perfect on the day but did manage to go 6-for-7 at the plate with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBI as Coast Guard salvaged a split on Day Four of the NTC Spring Games. In the opener the Bears rallied late but eventually fell short, losing to RPI 7-6 in eight innings before responding with an 8-3 victory over Saint Lawrence in the second half of the twin-bill.
Game One: RPI 7, Coast Guard 6 (8 innings)
RPI broke a scoreless tie by hanging a six-spot in the bottom of the sixth before Coast Guard rallied for six of their own in the top of the seventh to force extra innings. Kristina Weltzin scored on an error after being placed on second due to the International Tie-Breaker rule to give RPI the 7-6 8-inning victory.
After trading zeroes for five and a half innings, Coast Guard would eventually break first as an error allowed Jocilyn Rudisill to reach and plate Tori Hunt with the game's first run in the bottom of the sixth. In total RPI would tally six runs in the inning on four hits and three Coast Guard errors to take a seemingly insurmountable 6-0 lead into the seventh inning.
Prior to the seventh, Coast Guard had managed just two hits – both by Jessie Richardson (3-4, run) – and no other balls leave the infield. Junior designated player Natalie Spadafora (run) led off the inning by being hit by a pitch before sophomore pinch hitter Hannah Ingerson (1-2, RBI, run) came through with a pinch-hit double, with sophomore pinch runner Tara Larkin scoring, to get the Bears on the board.
After consecutive hits by senior first baseman Kelly Grills (1-3, run) and sophomore shortstop Morgan Kingston (1-5, 2 RBI, run) Coast Guard found themselves in a much more manageable 6-3 contest. Freshman left fielder Erin Reynolds (1-3, 2 RBI) would cap the Coast Guard scoring with a two-run single the other way to right field to score Richardson and freshman third baseman Cherokee Strickland (1-4, RBI, run) and tie the game at 6-6 and force extra innings.
In the extra frame – with the International Tie-Breaker Rule in effect – Coast Guard went down in order in the top half. With a runner on second Danielle Balestrini dropped a well-placed bunt that wasn't able to be caught at first with Weltzin scoring as the ball got away from the defense.
Game Two: Coast Guard 8, Saint Lawrence 3
In the second installment of the double-dip sophomore second baseman Erin Lisko went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, driving in three, and scoring three herself to lead Coast Guard to an 8-3 victory over Saint Lawrence.
Sarah Sorensen (3-2, 0.27 ERA) went the distance, allowing just three runs on five hits while striking out three. Her streak of 22.1 innings to begin her career – a school-record – came to an end in the fourth when the Saints tagged her for a run. She began the game by retiring the first ten Saint Lawrence batters of the game to give Coast Guard a chance to get on the board first.
The Bears would capitalize on a stellar pitching effort by Sorensen by jumping out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the third. With one out Lisko lined a single into left before coming in to score on Jessie Richardson's (3-3, 2 RBI, two runs) double down the left field line. After moving to third on a groundout by Cherokee Strickland (1-3, 2 RBI), Richardson would come in to score an unearned run on a passed ball.
The Saints would get on the board in the fourth when Cailyn Welsh double to left center to score Natasha Bell. Coast Guard would respond with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Lisko plated two runs with a double down the left field line before Richardson followed up with a single to left to score Lisko.
After Saint Lawrence made things interesting in the top of the fifth with a pair of runs to cut the Bears' lead to 5-3, Coast Guard put things away in the sixth with a three spot on the scoreboard. Lisko blooped a double to the opposite field to score Kelly Grills (2-3, two runs) who had reach on a single. Two batters later Strickland would double down the right field line to drive in Lisko and Richardson to account for the final margin.
With her 6-for-7 effort, Jessie Richardson is now hitting a staggering .720 on the season.
Coast Guard now stands at 5-3 on the season and will wrap up their Florida Trip tomorrow, March 15th when they take on Washington & Jefferson (1:00 pm) and Farmingdale State (5:00 pm) before heading back to New London.