The College of Staten Island women’s softball team took a healthy, 5-0, lead in their opening-round NCAA National Tournament game today, but ultimately fell, 8-5, at the hands of Moravian College in their matchup played this afternoon on the campus of SUNY-Cortland as part of regional play.  The loss sends CSI to the loser’s bracket, where they will fight to stay alive with another game against Kings College later this afternoon at 4pm.  Moravian has advanced to the winner’s round, and will play again tomorrow afternoon at Noon.

The Dolphins could not have had a better opening, processing a 5-0 after one and a half frames.  The Dolphins went down in order in the first inning against Moravian starter Jenna Carmon, but when Joanna Tepedino squared in to face Carmon to start the second; Tepedino took a pitch deep to left field, registering her first homer of the season, to give CSI an early 1-0 lead.  Three singles by Raechel Strobel, Michelle Ferraiuolo and Danielle Ponsiglione, then loaded the bases after a Setfanie Solari sacrifice bunt.  Jennifer Volpe was next, and the senior smoked a ball down the right field line scoring Strobel and Ferraiuolo easily.  Ponsiglione also came around to score, as right fielder Amanda Paulus erred on the throw, getting Volpe to take third.  The speedy Kristi Dillon then followed with a bunt, and the throw home to tag Volpe was not in time.  Dillon was ultimately stranded on base, but not before CSI nabbed a 5-0 lead.

Not to be denied, Moravian then mounted a slow comeback, beginning in the third inning.  Against Ponsiglione, Amanda Dizinno led off with a double, and two batters later, she came around to score on Stephanie Falzarano’s RBI-single.  CSI was able to escape the inning without further damage, but were not as fortunate in the fourth inning.

Shannen Mohr led off with a double, and Paulus followed with a single to slide her over to third.  Mohr then scored easily when Carmon singled up the middle to make it 5-2.  The fourth straight hit came courtesy of Cassie Ernst, who doubled home Paulus to make it 5-3.  With one out and runners at second and third, Maura Agnew then skied a ball to centerfield that was caught by Volpe.  Carmon scored via the sacrifice, but on the errant throw to third base, Ernst came around to score, one of two errors on the day for the Dolphins.  CSI slid out of the inning one batter later, but the damage was done as the score was tied, 5-5.

With full momentum, the Greyhounds almost took leads in the fifth and sixth innings, stranding runners in scoring position both times as Ponsiglione worked out of trouble, but CSI was unable to muster up offense, plating only one hit past the third inning.  Meanwhile, Moravian saved their heroics for the last of the seventh.

CSI’s second error led to the leadoff batter taking base for Moravian in the bottom of the seventh, and Mohr followed by legging out a would-be sac bunt into a single.  Up next, stepped Paulus, and after running the pitch count up, Paulus unleashed a towering shot to left field, easily clearing the wall for a walk-off, three-run homer to give the No. 2 seeds an 8-5 win.

Moravian out-hit CSI, 13-6.  Falzarano and Mohr both went 3-for-4 at the dish while Paulus finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored.  CSI’s Tepedino registered the Dolphins’ only multi-hit game, going 2-for-3.

With the win, Moravian will play the winner of No. 3 Montclair State and No. 4 Piedmont College tomorrow at 12 Noon.  No. 5 CSI will play No. 6 Kings College at 4pm this afternoon for the first elimination game of the tournament.  The winner will survive to advance to competition on Saturday.