Fisher takes two from Geneseo, advances to NCAA Super Regional

MARISSA KIRKER.jpg

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – For the third straight season, the nationally-ranked St. John Fisher College softball team will advance to the NCAA Division III Softball Super Regional after the Cardinals, who are ranked sixth in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll, came up with a pair of wins on Sunday to eliminate SUNY Geneseo and capture a Regional title at The Softball Complex. With the wins, Fisher, which needed to win both games to stave off elimination, improved to 34-8 while the Knights saw their season come to a close at 32-9.

Senior pitcher Lindsey Thayer, who became Division III's all-time leader in strikeouts on Friday, was named the Regional's Most Valuable Player while Katie Mazierski, Ashley Prince and Julia Sortisio were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Game One: FISHER 8, GENESEO 4

After a pair of scoreless innings, Fisher, which played as the visitor on the scoreboard, broke through in the top of the third with a run after Prince took a 1-2 pitch deep over the center field fence to stake the Cardinals to a 1-0 lead.

Fisher would double its advantage in the next frame as freshman Sammie Torlish blasted a solo shot to left center to make it a two-run affair heading to the home half of the inning.

In the top of the fifth, the Cardinals chased the Knights' pitcher after producing four runs on four hits to open up a six-run edge. Sortisio walked to lead off the inning before Mazierski dropped a bunt single to put two on. With no outs, Prince clubbed a double that one-hopped the fence and scored Sortisio while Sarah Kubik followed with an RBI-double of her own that plated Mazierski. Mary Claire Grosvenor made it 6-0 with a single through the right side that pushed Kubik across the dish before the Knights could escape the inning.

Following an RBI-double by Prince in the sixth, Geneseo got four runs back with one swing after belting a grand slam to pull to within three, but that was as close as it would come as Emily Trotman connected for a solo home run in the top of the seventh to give Fisher the 8-4 win.

Thayer moved to 23-4 in the circle with the win after throwing 5.2 innings of no-hit ball. The Winthrop native tallied 11 strikeouts in all. Monica Moses pitched 1.1 innings and allowed four runs on two hits with three strikeouts to her credit.

Fisher connected for 13 hits in the win led by Prince who went 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Sortisio was 2-for-3 while Kubik had a double to go along with two runs driven in. Torlish and Grosvenor combined to produce four hits, two RBI and a run scored.

Game Two: FISHER 7, GENESEO 1

It didn't take long for the Cardinals to get on the board after scoring three runs in just the first inning to put the Knights in a deep hole. Following an infield single by Mazierski, Prince boomed an RBI-triple to right before scoring two hitters later on an error. As the inning continued, Grosvenor singled to right to plate Kubik who had reached after being hit by a pitch earlier in the frame.

The Cardinals tacked on a run in the bottom of the second when Marissa Kirker scurried home after another Geneseo misplay to make it 4-0 in Fisher's favor.

In the third inning, Trotman connected for her second home run of the day with a solo shot to left before Torlish laced a run-scoring double the opposite way that scored Prince and increased the Cardinals' lead to six runs.

Holding a healthy lead in the fifth, Kirker got in on the action as the sophomore blasted just the second home run of her career to put her squad ahead by seven. Geneseo would add a run in the top of the seventh after a leadoff double came around to score on a wild pitch, but Thayer quickly ended the game with a pair of strikeouts to send the Cardinals back to Super Regionals.

Thayer picked up another win in the circle in the second tilt and improved to 24-4 after throwing a complete game. She allowed just one run on four hits and fanned nine overall.

Prince was 2-for-3 in the win with a triple, an RBI and two runs scored while Kirker, Sortisio and Torlish had two hits apiece.

Up next, the Cardinals will face an old rival in Ithaca College in the Super Regional round of play. The best-of-three series will begin Friday afternoon at a site to be determined. The winner will advance to the Division III Championship in Oklahoma City.

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