Bencivenga’s Two Home Runs Not Enough as Delaware Softball Closes Season With 7-6 Loss at James Madison
HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Blue Hen freshman shortstop Sarah Bencivenga drilled two home runs but James Madison scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Dukes posted a 7-6 comeback win over the University of Delaware softball team Sunday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
The Dukes, who swept the three-game weekend series, improved to 38-13 overall and remained in first place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings with a 12-3 league mark. The Blue Hens saw their 2014 season come to an end at 23-25 overall and 5-12 in the conference. With the loss Delaware was eliminated from contention for the CAA tournament, and will miss the championship for the first time since 2010.
Bencivenga, who entered the day with just one home run on the season, put the Blue Hens in front during the top of the first inning when she drilled a two-run shot to rightcenter. Delaware increased its lead to three in the top of the third as Morgan Schroll led off the frame with a walk and eventually scored when Bencivenga delivered an RBI single to right.
The Dukes got on the board during the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Hannah Hayes, while a two-run single by Catherine Clavin the following frame knotted the contest at 3-3.
Bencivenga put the Blue Hens back on top in the sixth when she led off the inning with another homer to left, while later in the frame Jessica Grisler lined a single up the middle to drive home Gabby Klecko and Hannah George to make it a 6-3 game.
However Caitlin Sandy opened the bottom of the sixth with a double and scored on a single by Cassidy Clayton, before James Madison scored three times in the seventh. Blue Hen pitcher Carolyn Szymanski hit two batters and walked another to load the bases with one out, while Niki Prince scored when Sandy reached on an error by Bencivenga. Taylor Newton and Clayton then each delivered RBI singles to centerfield to give the Dukes the comeback victory.
Bencivenga finished 3 for 4 with four RBI and two runs scored at the plate for the Blue Hens, and became the first Delaware player to hit two home runs in a game since Shanette White also had two at James Madison on Apr. 2, 2010. Grisler also was 3 for 4 on the afternoon with two RBI and a run scored, while Klecko finished with two hits and scored a run.
Dukes relief pitcher Kelly Wishard earned her first victory of the season after throwing a scoreless top of the seventh, while Szymanski fell to 12-13 for the Blue Hens as she allowed seven runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.