Downs

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. –- Alyssa Downs plated Brittany Bucko with the game-winning sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning and Kelsey Cockrill made it stand up as Southern Connecticut State defeated Caldwell 3-2 in the NCAA tournament opener for both teams on Friday.

SCSU, the No. 7 seed, opened the scoring with a run in the fourth inning. Bucko singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nicole Buch and came in to score on a RBI single by Kaley Marden.

The Owls threatened in the fifth but did not score. In the bottom of that frame, Caldwell evened the game at 1-1.

Southern Connecticut went back in front with a run in the sixth inning. Three consecutive singles from Buch, Downs and Marden – the last being a RBI knock – put the Owls back ahead 2-1.

Caldwell once again tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, but SCSU strung together one more rally in the seventh.

Bucko started the threat again with a one-out single. She then stole second and moved to third when Buch reached on an error. Downs then lofted a long fly ball to the warning track in left center that was plenty deep enough to score Bucko.

Cockrill then worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh to secure the win. She scattered nine hits and allowed just one earned run in a complete game effort.

Marden finished 3-for-4 with two RBI. Bucko added two hits and two runs scored.