Conway Fires Two-Hit Shutout In Nightcap As Blue Hen Softball Splits CAA-Opening Doubleheader at George Mason
March 26, 2011
File Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Game 1 Boxscore
• Game 2 Boxscore
FAIRFAX, Va. -- University of Delaware freshman Kathleen Conway fired a two-hit shutout during a win in the nightcap after George Mason posted a 1-0 victory in the opener as the Blue Hens and Patriots split a Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader Saturday afternoon at the GMU Softball Complex.
In the opener the Patriots, who are now 10-12 overall and 1-1 in the conference, looked to jump in front during the bottom of the first inning as Tori Dudley led off with a double to center field. However after Megan Blank grounded out to shortstop, UD catcher Gina Knutson gunned down Dudley as she tried to steal third.
Mason again threatened in the third, when Tiffany Webb beat out a bunt single and went to second on a groundout by Dudley. Blank then singled to right field, but UD’s Rachel Jones (at right) threw out Webb at the plate to keep the game scoreless.
Delaware had its first chance to score during the fifth, as Jones doubled to left center with two outs and then advanced to third on a passed ball. However Mason pitcher Miranda Cranford struck out Brittney Noons to escape the jam.
The Patriots finally broke the scoreless deadlock in the bottom of the fifth, when Katie Rynex led off with a walk. Amanda Stacevicz then replaced UD starter Hannah Rust in the circle, but after she retired Stephanie Strother on a sacrifice bunt, Webb delivered an RBI single to center to drive home Rynex with the lone run of the contest.
Delaware looked to answer right back during the top of the sixth when Jenny Richards (at left) and Lara Andrews each singled up the middle. Stephanie Maher then took over in the circle for Mason, but after the Blue Hen runners moved to second and third on a passed ball, Maher got Stacevicz to ground out to shortstop to keep UD off the board.
Jones was hit by a pitch with two outs in the seventh, but Maher then struck out Becky Ellis swinging to end the game and pick up her first save of the season.
Cranford improved to 3-4 for Mason after allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out five batters in 5.2 innings of work. Rust dropped to 0-3 for the Blue Hens despite giving up one earned run on four hits in four innings, while Stacevicz allowed two singles in two frames of relief.
Jones finished with a double while Richards, Andrews and Michelle McKinnon each added singles for Delaware.
The Blue Hens, who snapped a seven-game losing streak while improving to 8-18 overall and 1-1 in the CAA following the second game, struck first with a run in the opening frame. Richards opened the game with an infield single, and after she went to second on a sacrifice bunt by McKinnon, Andrews delivered an RBI single to right to put Delaware on the board.
Mason looked to answer in the bottom of the second when Regan Doiron was hit by a pitch and Emily Lafferty beat out a bunt single. The runners then moved to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, but Conway struck out Rynex and Strother to escape the jam.
The Blue Hens tacked on an insurance run in the third when Richards led off with a double to left center, moved to third on another bunt by McKinnon, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Andrews.
After breezing through the third and fourth innings, Conway ran into trouble in the fifth as a pair of walks put two Patriots on base with one out. But Conway then struck out Cranford and, following a wild pitch that put two runners in scoring position, she struck out Dudley to maintain the two-run cushion.
Mason put one final rally together in the seventh, as Samantha Barney worked a one-out walk and Rynex followed with a double to right center. However Conway buckled down from there, striking out Strother and Webb swinging to end the game.
Conway, who improved to 2-5 on the season, posted her second shutout of the year while allowing just two hits and four walks. Appearing in just her 11th game as a Blue Hen, the freshman from Simsbury, Conn. struck out 14 batters, one shy of the school record held by Lindsay Jones, who struck out 15 George Mason batters in March, 2006.
Kelsey Byrd, who gave up two earned runs on seven hits, dropped to 3-5 for the Patriots. Richards went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored for UD, while Jones also finished with two hits during the contest.
Delaware and George Mason wrap up their three-game series on Sunday with a single game beginning at 12 noon at the GMU Softball Complex.Back To Softball Home Softball Story Archive