MYRTLE BEACH, SC – The Franciscan softball team had to wait a few more days than expected to open its season as cold weather in the Ohio Valley cancelled the season-opener, but the Lady Barons were rewarded for their patience as they went 1-1 on the first day of their spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. After dropping the first game 9-6 in extra innings, Franciscan won its first game of the season 6-3 over Sarah Lawrence.
"It was a phenomenal team effort in the second game today," remarked head coach Jim Walker following the team's 6-3 win. "To bounce back from a disappointing extra inning loss and come out fighting really shows this team's character. I am proud of how the girls continued to battle today."
Freshman Dennise Carrazco got things started right away in the game against Sarah Lawrence as she doubled to left center. After moving to third on an illegal pitch, Carrazco was able to come home on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Lindsey Finch to give the Lady Barons a 1-0 lead.
Sarah Lawrence got the run back in the bottom of the first and the two teams were locked at 1-1 until the top of the third when Franciscan took back the lead. Finch tripled down the right field line with one out and freshman Anna Fluharty grounded out to first, which allowed Finch to come home.
The Lady Barons blew the game open with a five-hit, four-run fourth inning to take a 6-1 lead. With Jordan Cunningham on third thanks to her triple down the right field line, Anna Pivarunas attempted to lay down a sacrifice bunt to bring home Cunningham but a throwing error by the pitcher allowed Pivarunas to reach safely and Cunningham to score the first run of the inning. Back to back singles from Anna Ames and Kathleen Thompson loaded the bases for the Lady Barons. Carrazco was en fuego for Franciscan and roped a single through the right side to drive home Ames and Pivarunas. After stealing third with two outs, Carrazco came home on Finch's single to center to cap the big inning for FUS.
Starting pitcher Amanda Pulice found herself in trouble in the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded with one out but Cunningham came out in relief and got a pair of outs to keep Sarah Lawrence off the board and the score holding steady at 6-1 in favor of the Lady Barons.
Sarah Lawrence got one run back in the fifth and one in the bottom of the seventh but could not mount a comeback and Franciscan won its first game since the 2015 season.
Trailing 3-2 after the first three innings, the Lady Barons took their first lead of the game against Bay Path with a three-run fourth inning. Thompson singled to bring home Pivarunas with two outs before Carrazco singled home Thompson and Anna King. The Lady Barons led 5-3 after four full innings.
The Wildcats struck a tough blow in the top of the sixth with two runs in two hits and a costly Lady Baron error to tie the game, 5-5.
Each team went scoreless in the final regularly scheduled innings until Bay Path scored four runs on three hits and an error to take a 9-5 lead. Franciscan scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the eighth but could not mount a comeback and fell 9-6 in its first game of the season.
"The win was really a complete team effort today and it was led by our senior captains. Jordan and Lindsey set the tone for this team today and we will need this kind of effort this season to be competitive," said Coach Walker following the games.
Franciscan returns to action tomorrow as the Lady Barons take on Wisc.-Stout at 9:30 am and Albertus Mangus at 11:30 am.