The University of Bridgeport scored two one-run victories over St. Thomas Aquinas College today to clinch a berth in the East Coast Conference (ECC) women's softball playoffs and eliminate the Lady Spartans from post-season contention. Bridgeport won the first game, 6-5 in eight innings, and 4-3 in the nightcap.
Bridgeport's two wins coupled with Mercy's doubleheader sweep of New York Institute of Technology today sealed the final playoff berth for the Purple Knights, who are now 11-10 in ECC action and 24-22 overall. LIU Post, Molloy College and Mercy College have locked down the other playoff bids.
"To the girls' credit, we stayed alive in the playoff race until the final four days of the season," said Kristen Sullivan, the STAC head coach. "Today, we lost two one-run games and just couldn't get the clutch hit when we needed it. I thought Colleen (Borum) and Briana (Keaveney) pitched well enough to win. Our defense let us down at key moments."
In the opener, the Lady Spartans raced to a 4-0 lead in the first inning fueled by RBIs by Amanda Schweitzer, Amanda Leone and Brittany Malloy. After Bridgeport took a 5-4 lead with a four-run rally in the fifth inning, the Lady Spartans tied the score in the bottom of the seventh inning in dramatic fashion. Ashley Landolina tripled to lead off the inning and Schweitzer followed with a clutch RBI single to right center field to tie the score. STAC had the bases loaded in the eighth inning but couldn't push across the tying run.
Landolina and Schweitzer finished with two hits each and left fielder Alyssa Chelak made a sensational catch in left field to save a run in the fifth inning.
In the second game, the Lady Spartans committed six errors with a throwing miscue in the sixth inning allowing the Purple Knights to score the deciding run. Melissa Sadler had three hits, including a double and triple, to lead the STAC attack.
The Lady Spartans next host Molloy College in their final games of the season on Sunday in an ECC doubleheader that starts at noon. The team's seniors will be recognized prior to the games at approximately 11:45 a.m.