WEST HAVEN, Conn. -- Top-seeded LIU Post is headed to the NCAA East super regionals after coming away with a marathon win against fifth-seeded Southern New Hampshire on Sunday at the UNH Softball Field. The Pioneers battled to a 7-6 victory during 13 innings.
The Penmen end their season with a 31-15 record, while LIU Post improves to 48-8 and move on to host the Super Regionals May 16-17 against Caldwell.
Junior catcher Aly Dzierzynski opened the afternoon's scoring with a second-inning solo homer to dead center for her 24th long ball of the season. That lead did not hold long as SNHU answered with two runs in the bottom of the third on an RBI single off the bat of Mo Hannan followed by a Pioneer miscue allowing Hannan to score.
In the very next frame, senior shortstop Nicole Hagenah knotted the score at 2-2 with a solo shot of her own over the fence in left.
The Penmen added a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings as Katie Caruso and Tesia Stanasek recorded RBI base knocks to take a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
The Pioneers would not go down without a fight as senior center fielder Alexis Gonzalez came to bat with two outs and a runner on first and cleared the left-field fence with the second pitch she saw.
That was all the scoring until we reached the top of the 11th. Once again Gonzalez was in the thick of things as she came to bat once again with two outs and senior second baseman Angela Carmine on first. This time, she laced a double off the fence in right, allowing Carmine to score all the way from first. Holly Eicher led off the bottom of the frame with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, setting the stage for Morgan Farmer to tie the game for the fourth time (5-5).
LIU Post came right back, retaking the lead in the top of the 12th. With two outs and freshman first baseman Kayla McCoy and junior right fielder Samantha Miller aboard, junior left fielder Catherine Havens lifted a popup over third base that dropped between the SNHU third baseman and shortstop allowing McCoy to score and Havens to leg out a double.
Once again, the Penmen had an answer, tying the score at 6-6 on an RBI single up the middle by Caruso to plate Hannan. That would prove to be the final time SNHU would score, but the green and gold were not finished yet. With two outs and Gonzalez on second, sophomore designated player Paige Swantek roped a double off third base, delivering the game-winning RBI as Gonzalez crossed the plate on the play.
Senior Liz Weber got the start in the circle, tossing the first six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk while fanning three. Freshman Ashley Martin worked the next 5.1 innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out five. Sophomore Quincy Lewis pitched the final 1.2 innings, giving up just one hit for the win to improve to 3-2 on the season.
Reliever Rebecca Sherwood (2-2) was tabbed with the loss as she threw the final eight innings of play, giving up five runs (two earned) on 13 hits and two walks.
Dzierzynski and Gonzalez led the offense, finishing with four and three hits, respectively, while Gonzalez knocked in three of the Pioneers' seven RBIs.
Next up for the Pioneers is a date in the Super Regionals versus second-seeded Caldwell. LIU Post will host the best-of-three series May 16-17 at the LIU Post Softball Complex in Brookville, New York.