Fredonia State rallied for an improbable 5-4 victory in the second game of its SUNYAC softball doubleheader Friday with the Oswego Lakers.
Down to their final out with a runner on first, the Blue Devils scored three runs on the game's final play. Kim Lotocki dropped a single to short right-center to score Erin Mushtare from third and pinch-runner Kristiana Pavone from second with a head-first slide. The throw trying to retire Pavone bounced away from the Oswego catcher and rolled to the backstop. Kate Nicholson, who started off at first, never stopped running and slid across with the winning run ahead of the flip to the plate.
The comeback - coupled with a 9-4 error-laden loss in Game 1 - left the Blue Devils at 7-12 overall and 4-6 in the SUNYAC. Oswego ended the day at 5-14 overall, 2-10 in the conference.
Both games were back-and-forth affairs.
Game 1 turned in the third inning with one swing of the bat - a three-run homer to dead center by Oswego's Ashley Lyman. It gave the Lakers a 6-4 lead and they held serve the rest of the way behind the relief pitching of Alexandria Connelly, who pitched five scoreless innings. She allowed just two base runners and struck out five.
Fredonia State's scoring came in two innings. Nicholson dropped a bunt single to lead off the first inning, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Lotocki, and an RBI single by Alyssa Morgan. In the third, three Oswego errors were sandwiched around singles by Erin Mushtare and Maddy Stavish.
The loss was pinned on Alyssa Brognano, who gave up seven runs - only two of them earned - in four-plus innings. Kelsey Gannett pitched the final three innings, and returned to the circle for the second game, as did Oswego's Connelly. The two were teammates at Union-Endicott High School.
The teams traded the lead five times in Game 2. The Lakers broke on top in the top of the second on a triple by Sammie Schroeter and a single by Dana Taglioni. The Blue Devils pulled even at 1-1 on a double by Madeline Medina and a two-out single by Nicholson.
A Blue Devil error and a two-out single by Katie Bredin put Oswego on top 2-1 in the fourth. In the last half of the inning, Lotocki singled and scored on a two-out double by Jess Lauck.
Oswego appeared to strike the decisive blow in the top of the seventh. Following a two-out double by Deanna Apps, Alexis Nasca smashed a homer to left to put the Lakers on top 4-2.
Nasca returned to the circle for her third inning in relief of Connelly. She gave up a lead-off single to Mushtare, before retiring the next two batters. Stavish then drew a four-pitch walk ahead of a bunt by Nicholson, who was credited with a single after Oswego was unable to retire the lead runner. That set the stage for Lotocki, who delivered with her two-run hit, and Nicholson, who hustled all the way around from first. Gannett pitched a complete game to get the win and improve to 6-5. Nasca was the losing pitcher.
The Blue Devils are back at home today for a noon doubleheader against conference-leader Cortland. The teams will wear commemorative shirts as part of Strikeout Cancer Day. Brognano will be recognized as Fredonia State's lone senior prior to the doubleheader.
past Devils, 7-2
The Fredonia State baseball team lost its home opener at Ludwig Field, 7-2, to Oswego on Friday.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when freshman Liam Kelly singled home Kyle Koslowski.
The Lakers answered back with three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 5-2 lead, highlighted by a Dan Saccocio solo home run in the fifth. They tacked on another pair in the seventh to take a 7-1 lead.
The Devils' final run came in the eighth. Singles by Scott Schuster and Conner Lorenzo put runners at the corners. Lorenzo stole second, and Schuster scored on an errant throw.
Kelly, Schuster and Bobby Frantz each had two hits for the Blue Devils.
Fredonia State starter Steve Sturm went seven innings and struck out four. Evan Carmello and Carl Wolf each provided an inning of scoreless relief.
The loss drops the Blue Devils to 8-14 overall and 3-7 in SUNYAC play. It will be Senior Day Saturday at Ludwig Field when Fredonia State takes on Oswego in a doubleheader. Game 1 is set to start at 12 p.m.