KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Holy Cross softball team played a doubleheader against Utah Valley and Florida A&M on Friday afternoon and came out on the short end of both 1-0 extra inning contests. The Crusaders sent 24 hitters to the plate in the eight-inning game one against Utah Valley and despite getting three hits, Wolverines' pitcher Cassie Herrera faced the minimum amount of batters. Holy Cross was the home team in game two against Florida A&M and had the tying run on third base in the bottom of the ninth but was unable to bring her home as the offensive struggles continued for the Crusaders.
Freshman Tori Cheske (Thomaston, Conn.) took to the circle in game one and registered a two-hit shutout through seven complete innings, allowing only two hits and striking out four. Cheske also tallied her first career hit in the top of the third inning but was retired when she stumbled around second base on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Emma Keough (Rochester, Mass.). The Crusaders recorded its second hit in the top of the seventh when freshman Ashleigh Vargas (Wakefield, Mass.) reached on a bunt single, but she was doubled off on a popped up bunt attempt by senior Gwen Reimer (Pottsville, Pa.) that was caught by the third baseman who threw to first before Vargas could tag-up.
The international tie breaker rule was used once the game went to extra innings, meaning the Crusaders started with a runner on second base in the top of the eighth inning. Junior Jenna Legros (Sandy Hook, Conn.) entered the game as a pinch runner for sophomore Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) and after junior Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) flied out to left field and senior Nicole Ortiz (Whittier, Calif.) grounded out back to the pitcher, sophomore Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) hit a single up the middle that sent Legros in motion. The center fielder for the Wolverines came up firing and cut down Legros with a perfect throw to the plate, keeping the game tied, 0-0.
Utah Valley came up in the bottom half of the inning and the Crusaders intentionally walked the first batter of the inning to create a force play at any base, with the tie breaker runner already on second. The Wolverines' leadoff batter, Jessica Uresti, then laid down a sacrifice bunt but the throw to first from the catcher got away into right field, allowing the runner at second to score and giving Utah Valley the 1-0 victory. Cheske (0-2) took the loss for the Crusaders despite giving up no earned runs while Herrera got the win to move to 1-1 on the year.
Not much changed from an offensive standpoint for Holy Cross in game two versus Florida A&M, as the Crusaders mustered only three hits. Croushore sent a base hit to center field in the bottom of the second and senior Camille Trainor (Worcester, Mass.) reached on a flair to right in the third and bunt single in the sixth. Florida A&M took advantage of the international tie breaker rule by sacrifice bunting the runner to third then Kiefi Myrich squeezed her home in the bottom of the ninth to give the Rattlers the 1-0 lead. The Crusaders took the same strategy and bunted the tie breaker runner, junior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.), to third in the bottom half of the inning, but she was left stranded as Florida A&M pitcher Whitney Robinson (2-6) took home the nine-inning shutout win. Sophomore pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.) suffered another heartbreaking loss and despite giving up no earned runs she fell to 0-5 on the season.
Holy Cross (1-9) will take the field two more times in its final day of action at the Rebel Spring Games tomorrow, March 10. The first game is set to begin at 9:00 a.m. against Akron and the final game will be against Manhattan at 1:00 p.m.