March 3, 2014
Riverside, Calif. - The Loyola University Chicago softball team put together a valiant seventh inning comeback en route to a 10-inning 6-5 victory over UC Riverside in the first game of a doubleheader in Riverside, Calif. today. Tarran Shaffer and Lauren Zaworski had three hits a piece in the win, and Brittany Gardner took sole possession of Loyola's all-time career wins record (52) with the victory in the circle.
The Ramblers continued the offensive push that gave them a 3-2 walk-off victory over California yesterday right into the first inning of today's game, starting with a leadoff walk by Brie Pasquale. After Jessica Balzano laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Pasquale to second, Lauren Moore ripped a RBI double to plate Pasquale. The Ramblers then loaded the bases on a Shaffer single and an Alyssa Mannucci walk, but Riverside was able to get out of the inning with on a Loyola lineout.
In the bottom of the second inning, Riverside loaded the bases on three walks. With two outs, Ashley Rogers was then brought on to pitch in relief of Amanda Ciran. Though Rogers hit Dionne Anderson to bring a home a Riverside run, the Loyola pitcher struck out Haley Harris to get out of the inning with score tied, 1-1.
The teams remained deadlocked until the top of the fifth inning, when Moore and Shaffer hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. After pinch runner Kat Widup replaced Moore on the base paths, Riverside brought on pitcher Alyssa Razo in relief of starting hurler Ashley Ercolano. Zaworski promptly roped an RBI single to right field, scoring Widup and giving the Ramblers a 2-1 lead.
Riverside stormed back in the bottom of the frame, beginning with a leadoff single by Kris DeAnda. After DeAnda stole second, she reached third on a sacrifice bunt and was able to score on a Kaylie Atkinson sacrifice fly. With the score tied at 2-2, the Highlanders hit a pair of back-to-back singles to put two on, but Rogers struck out Marissa Escalante for the final out of the inning.
The Highlanders continued their offensive spark in the bottom of the sixth inning when Stephanie Tickemyer led off the frame with a single to right center. After Taylor Wright reached on a fielder's choice and Tickemyer was safe at second on an error by the short stop, a groundout advanced the pair of Riverside runners to second and third. A hit batter then loaded the bases for Anderson, whose single to right field scored one. Harris followed it up with a sacrifice fly to score another, giving the Highlanders a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
The Ramblers staged a valiant comeback in the top of the seventh inning, as Shaffer and Zaworski led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Erica Nagel then drew a walk to load the bases, and Olivia Bell roped a two-out single to right field, scoring Shaffer and Zaworski to tie the score at 4-4.
Rambler ace Gardner was brought to the circle to start the bottom of the seventh, and she made the most of the opportunity. The senior was lights out, striking out two and forcing a groundout to send the game to an international tiebreaker.
After Pasquale was placed on second, Balzano laid down her second sacrifice bunt of the game to move Pasquale to third base. The sophomore then scampered home on a wild pitch to Shaffer, giving the Ramblers a 5-4 lead. Shaffer was able to draw a walk, and Zaworski followed it up with a single to left field, forcing a Riverside pitching change. After Sophie Slagle was brought to the circle to face Mannucci,the freshman fouled out to first base to end the inning.
Tickemyer was placed on second base to start the bottom of the eighth inning and advnced to third on a foul out to right field. After a Highlander flyout, DeAnda doubled to right center to score Tickemyer and tie the game at 5-5.
Both teams were held scoreless in the ninth inning. Bell started out the tenth inning on second but didn't stay there for long as the senior advanced to third on a wild pitch in the first at-bat of the frame. After a Loyola groundout, Bell was able to score on a Balzano pop up, allowing the Ramblers to regain the lead, 6-5.
With Escalante placed on second, Gardner forced a Tickemyer flyout to begin the bottom of the frame. Wright then lined out to right field and Nagel was able to double Escalante up at second base to win the game, 6-5.
Shaffer was 3-for-4 with one run in the victory, and Zaworski was 3-for-4 with one run and one RBI.
With the victory, Gardner earned her 52nd career win and took sole possession of Loyola's all-time career wins record. The senior gave up one run on one hit and struck out four in four innings pitched.
The Ramblers are back in action at 5:30 p.m. when they take on UC Riverside again in the second game of the double header in Riverside, Calif.