ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A one-out single by sophomore Nora Passuite in the bottom of the seventh inning lifted Alfred to a thrilling 8-7 victory Saturday afternoon against top-seeded Rochester in an NCAA Division III championship tournament regional game.
AU (29-10), the second seed in the four-team double-elimination Rochester Regional, advances to play in Sunday's regional title game against an opponent to be determined. The regional winner will advance to next weekend's Super Regional action, with a berth in the College World Series on the line.
The Saxons earned the walk-off win Saturday after giving up a two-run lead in the sixth inning. With Rochester leading 7-6, AU sophomore second baseman Dana Torchia led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk. Senior Stephanie Arguello ran for Torchia and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore shortstop Nicole Maher singled and Arguello scored the tying run on an error by the Rochester rightfielder. Sophomore Mackenzie Miller ran for Maher and advanced to second on a walk to sophomore catcher Jasmine Picini and Passuite followed with a single down the right field line to score Miller with the winning run.
The last-inning rally made a winner of freshman pitcher Sophia Chiavatti, who tossed 6.2 innings of relief, allowing four earned runs on eight hits while striking out four. Sophomore Katelyn Jakobsen started but was lifted for Chiavatti after allowing three first-inning runs on two hits and a pair of walks.
After Rochester took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the first, AU responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the frame. Maher, who finished 2-for-4, belted a double that scored junior first baseman Alison Wickwire and Torchia.
Rochester scored a single run in the fourth to go up 4-2 before Alfred took its first lead of the game with a four-run fifth. Freshman third baseman Liz Thompson drew a one-out walk and advanced to second when Torchia reached on an error. Wickwire walked to load the bases and, after Maher lined out, Picini blasted a grand slam to left to put the Saxons in front 6-4.