April 20, 2013
CLEVELAND, Ohio - Brie Pasquale doubled home a pair of runs in the 10th inning and Brittany Gardner escaped a serious jam in the bottom half of the inning as Loyola University Chicago (22-14, 10-3 Horizon) rallied from an early two-run deficit to record a 5-4 victory at Cleveland State (15-19, 6-4 Horizon) this afternoon at a chilly Viking Field. With the sixth of her eight strikeouts on the day, Gardner took over sole possession of the top spot on Loyola's all-time list in that category. She now has 538 career punchouts.
Catcher Tarran Shaffer's second-inning solo home run helped Loyola draw even with Cleveland State, but the Vikings tagged Gardner for two more runs in the bottom of the third when Caila Ferro laced a triple to right field that plated Dara Toman and Erica McNew for a 3-1 CSU lead.
Loyola cut the deficit in half on Lauren Moore's RBI infield single in the fifth, then knotted the score in the sixth when Shaffer pounded her second roundtripper of the day, an opposite field shot, to tie the game at 3.
Both teams had chances to end it in the eighth inning, but some masterful pitching helped their respective squads escape a decisive blow. Loyola tried to ignite a two-out rally in the eighth inning when Annie Korth reached on an error and Shaffer walked to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. But, one batter later, Korth was thrown out after another Vikings error.
CSU couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to win the game in the bottom half of the inning as it loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks with nobody out. However, Gardner showed her mettle and induced two fielder's choice groundouts before getting an inning-ending pop out to keep the game alive.
In the 10th inning, Pasquale stroked a two-out double to left that scored Korth and Shaffer to give the Ramblers a 5-3 lead, but the Vikings refused to go down without a fight in their half of the inning.
Three straight walks opened the inning for Cleveland State before Gardner once again bore down. An RBI groundout cut Loyola's lead to a single run and put the winning run in scoring position, but Gardner got Nena Doran to foul out before snaring a liner right back up the middle to retire Alyson Broschk and end the game.
Four Ramblers - Moore, Zaworski, Shaffer, and Pasquale - recorded two hits apiece, while Gardner scattered five hits in 10 innings, despite battling some uncharacteristic wildness. The lefthander has now won eight of her last 10 decisions and needs seven wins to tie Kari Klier's Loyola career record of 51 wins.
Loyola and Cleveland State wrap up the three-game series with a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at noon Eastern.