Blue Hens Defeat St. Francis (Pa.), 7-2, Fall To Villanova, 4-2, at Delaware Spring Inv. Finale
March 17, 2013
File photo courtesy of Mark Campbell
• Hartford-St. Francis (Pa.) Boxscore | PDF
• Norfolk State-Villanova Boxscore | PDF
• St. Francis (Pa.)-Delaware Boxscore | PDF
• Villanova-Delaware Boxscore | PDF
NEWARK, Del. -- The Blue Hen softball team rode the hot bat of Gina Knutson (at right) during a 7-2 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) before dropping a 4-2 decision to Villanova Sunday afternoon as UD closed out play at the second annual University of Delaware Spring Invitational.
Delaware is now 17-4 on the season after winning three of four games on the weekend, and the Blue Hens had won eight consecutive contests before dropping the finale to the Wildcats.
During the Blue Hens’ first game of the day, Delaware jumped in front during the bottom of the second inning when Knutson led off with a triple and scored on a single up the middle by Gabby Klecko. The Red Flash, who dropped to 15-8 on the year, quickly tied the game in the third on an RBI double by Chelsy Cosentino, but the Blue Hens countered with a pair of runs during the bottom of the frame to go ahead for good.
Knutson ripped an RBI double to centerfield to drive home pinch runner Shelby Jones, while Lisa Stacevicz followed with a single up the middle to chase home Knutson and give Delaware a 3-1 lead. An RBI double by St. Francis centerfielder Maggie Creciun brought the Red Flash back within a run in the fourth, but the Blue Hens scored the final four runs of the game to pull away.
Michelle McKinnon laced a two-out double in the bottom of the fourth, and she came around to score when Knutson followed with a double to centerfield. Delaware added another single run during the fifth inning, as Hannah George singled to leftfield to drive home Klecko. McKinnon then singled with one out in the sixth, and after Marisa Newman walked, Knutson drove both runners home by drilling a pitch down the leftfield line.
Knutson finished 3 for 4 with two doubles, a triple, three RBI and two runs scored to pace the 15-hit Blue Hen attack, while McKinnon was 3 for 4 with a pair of runs scored. Newman, Klecko and George all had two hits for Delaware, which scored in every inning except the first.
Senior righthander Chenxi Jiao picked up the victory and improved to 5-2 for Delaware after firing 3.2 scoreless innings of relief, giving up just three hits and no walks while striking out four. Amanda Stacevicz started in the circle for the Blue Hens, as she was charged with a pair of runs on six hits in 3.1 frames of work. Red Flash starter Ketarah DeVries gave up three earned runs on eight hits in 2.1 innings as she dropped to 9-5 on the campaign.
Villanova, which won twice on Sunday to improve to 11-8 on the year, struck first in the nightcap by pushing across an unearned run during the top of the first. Ali Lowe singled with one out, and one out later she came all the way around to score when Klecko uncorked a wild throw after fielding a single to rightfield by Valerie Ortega.
Delaware knotted the contest during the bottom of the third when Andrews ripped a two-out double to leftcenter and crossed the plate when McKinnon followed with a single up the middle. However the Wildcats would score three runs over the next two innings to take a 4-1 advantage.
In the top of the fourth Shea Palmer put Villanova in front for good with a double to leftfield, driving home pinch runner Elise Samoy-Alvarado. The following inning Lowe stole third during a double steal, and then scored on an errant throw by Blue Hen catcher Mary O’Reilly on the play. Ortega then came to the plate and delivered an RBI single to left, chasing home Beth Smetana.
Delaware got a run back during the bottom of the fifth when Jessica Grisler scored on a groundout by McKinnon, but despite bringing the tying run to the plate in each of the final two frames, the Blue Hens would get no closer.
Kate Poppy went the distance in the circle for the Wildcats, improving to 11-3 after allowing two earned runs on five hits with eight strikeouts. UD starter Taylor Curran fell to 3-2 as she gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits in four innings of work, while Kiersten Coffman allowed five hits in three frames of scoreless relief.
Andrews and McKinnon had two hits apiece for the Blue Hens, with McKinnon knocking home both UD runs.
Delaware remains home on Wednesday when the Blue Hens host La Salle in a 3 p.m. non-conference doubleheader at the UD Softball Stadium.