Grap Celebrates Senior Day With Game-Winning Hit as Blue Hens Close Regular Season With 4-3 Comeback Win Over Towson
May 7, 2011
Photos Courtesy of Mark Campbell
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NEWARK, Del. –UD senior third baseman Michelle Grap drilled a two-out RBI single up the middle to cap a three-run sixth inning rally for the Blue Hens as the University of Delaware softball team closed out its 2011 regular season with a thrilling 4-3 comeback victory over Towson Saturday afternoon at the Delaware Softball Stadium.
The Blue Hens conclude their regular season at 21-32 overall and finish in fourth place in the Colonial Athletic Association standings with a 10-11 league mark. Delaware will open play at the double elimination CAA Tournament on Wednesday when the Blue Hens take on top-seeded Hofstra at 2 p.m. in Hempstead, N.Y.
Towson, which will be the third seed in the conference tournament and will face second-seeded Georgia State at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, ends its regular season at 27-24 overall and 11-8 in league play.
The Tigers wasted little time in taking the lead during the top of the first inning as Erica Stasch worked a two-out walk and moved to second on a single to center field by Andrea Stevenson. Lindsey Kent then drilled a line drive single to right field that barely eluded a diving Rachel Jones, allowing Stasch to score the first run of the game. Towson looked to add a run in the third when DiPompo doubled and Stasch drove a ball into the gap in rightcenter, but Michelle McKinnon gunned down DiPompo at the plate to keep it a 1-0 game.
The Blue Hens, whose 10 conference wins this year are the most since the 2006 season, then evened the contest with a run in the bottom of the third. Grap (at right) opened the frame with a walk, and one out later she stole second base. Towson starting pitcher Katie Lingmai then struck out Bertie Lake for the second out, but Jenny Richards followed with a single to left and Michelle McKinnon drilled a single up the middle to plate Grap with the tying run.
After each team went scoreless during the fourth inning, the Tigers regained the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Stevie Patnode struck out to begin the frame, but she reached first when the pitch by UD’s Kathleen Conway bounced past catcher Gina Knutson. One out later Sammi DiPompo doubled to leftcenter to put runners on second and third, while a single to right by Stasch chased home Patnode to put Towson back in front. Stevenson then hit a groundball to Blue Hen shortstop Becky Ellis, who stepped on second for the force out but could not compete the double play, allowing DiPompo to score the Tigers’ third run of the day.
However Delaware, which had scored just run through its first 19 innings against Towson pitching on the weekend, finally broke through during the bottom of the sixth. With one out Lara Andrews worked a base on balls, and after she was replaced by pinch runner Samantha Pettie at first base, Amanda Stacevicz lofted a single into leftcenter. Knutson (at left), whose 31 RBI are tied for fourth most in a UD single season, then drilled a pitch to the base of the fence in leftcenter for a double, driving home both runners to knot the game at 3-3.
Dominique Ortega then replaced Lingmai in the circle for Towson, and she quickly retired Jones on a pop up to third base for the second out of the inning. However Grap, who was honored in a pregame ceremony along with classmate Anne Marie Pagano before they played their final regular season games and who also sung the National Anthem, delivered in her last at bat at the Delaware Softball Stadium. She lined a pitch from Ortega back up the middle and into center field, chasing home Knutson for her 99th career RBI that put the Blue Hens on top, 4-3.
Stacevicz, then took over for Conway in the seventh, but she immediately allowed a leadoff single by Rachel Miller as Towson looked to pull even. A sacrifice bunt by DiPompo moved Miller into scoring position with one out, but Stacevicz slammed the door by striking out Stasch and Stevenson looking to end the game.
Pagano started in the circle for the Blue Hens in her home finale and allowed one earned run on four hits in 2.1 frames, while Conway improved to 6-9 after giving up two earned runs on three hits in 3.2 innings of relief. Stacevicz, who fired a scoreless seventh, earned her second save of the campaign.
Lingmai took the loss for Towson and dropped to 16-12 after allowing four earned runs on five hits in 5.1 innings of work.
Stacevicz also led Delaware at the plate by finishing 2 for 3 with a run scored, while Knutson was 1 for 3 with the two-run double and scored the game-winning run.Back To Softball Home Softball Story Archive