May 22, 2010

Courtesy of Long Island Athletics

Amherst, Mass. - The Long Island University softball team held off a furious rally from Boston University to stave off elimination in the NCAA Amherst Regional with a 5-4 win on Saturday night in Amherst, Mass. The Blackbirds (39-17) will tangle with No. 13 overall seed Arizona State at 5:00 p.m. in the Regional Final with LIU needing to down the Sun Devils twice to advance to NCAA Super Regionals. Senior Blaire Porter improved her record to 29-8 on the season while setting down three batters on strikes.

Cruising with a 5-0 advantage the Terriers mounted a charge in the bottom of the sixth to cut LIU's lead. Four singles in five at bats from Boston sent three runs across the plate to make the score 5-3. Down to its last out, Boston's Rachel Hebert put the pressure on the Blackbirds with a solo homer. Porter ended the threat by forcing a ground out, sending LIU to Sunday;s title tilt. The senior, who was only charged with one earned run, scattered six hits in seven innings, including retiring the first 14 batters of the contest.

Long Island pulled away from the Terriers in the fifth when it plated three runs to increased its lead to 5-0. Sophomore Sterling Hoham led off by roping a double to deep center. After freshman Lindsey Walker was inserted to pinch run, a walk to junior Bianca Mejia compounded with an illegal pitch gave Long Island runners on the corners. Senior Mariesha Marker's second double of the day played Walker and set up classmate Brynn Lewis with two runners in scoring position. Lewis smacked a 1-2 pitch up the middle to score Mejia and Marker and put LIU ahead 5-0.

The Blackbirds opened the scoring in the third when a string of illegal pitches aided the LIU attack. After committing three illegal offerings, Mejia took ball four to put one on and one out. Marker followed by doubling off the centerfield wall to put two Long Island runners in scoring position. Mejia would then score on a passed ball and Marker crossed the plate on the inning's fifth illegal pitch to give LIU a 2-0 lead.

Long Island was sent to the loser's bracket when it fell to Arizona State early in the day. Arizona State narrowly escaped with a 3-2 win over the Blackbirds in the opening game of the day. Long Island had the tying runner at third base in the bottom of the seventh but were unable to knot the score and force the contest into extras. Mejia led off the frame with a double down the right field line but couldn't

Long Island climbed out of a 3-0 hole in the sixth starting with one-out base hits from seniors Raylene Asman and Chelsea Martinson. ASU relief pitcher Sam Parlich then walked freshman Karina Cervantes and junior Amanda MacIntosh followed by roping a singled through the left side to bring home Asman and edge the score at 3-1. Sophomore Sterling Hoham was then hit by a pitch to bring LIU within a run at 3-2. The Sun Devils escaped trouble by inducing a 3-2-3 double play to end the inning.

The Sun Devils took a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth when Caylyn Carlson knocked a base hit through the middle to bring across two runs and make the score 3-0 before the Blackbirds' rally in the bottom of the frame,

ASU took an early lead in the top of the third when Annie Lockwood singled through the middle to score Katelyn Boyd. LIU ended the threat when Marker threw Lockwood out as she tried to advance to second on the play.

Arizona State and Long Island each left the bases loaded in the first frame with nothing to show for it. Both Porter ASU's Megan Elliott slipped away from the jams by inducing ground outs.