DOLPHINS SOFTBALL PUNCH TICKET TO TITLE GAME WITH WIN OVER BARUCH, 3-2

The College of Staten Island women’s softball squad followed up a 10-2 win over #4 Brooklyn College, by taking down #2 Baruch College as part of winner’s bracket play on day one of the 2011 CUNYAC/Pepsi Softball Postseason Championship Tournament played at the CSI Softball Complex this afternoon.  The win earned CSI (25-11) a spot in the Final tomorrow afternoon at 12:30pm, while the loss for Baruch (16-22) put them into the loser’s bracket.  The Bearcats will face off against #3 Hunter College (21-13-2) for the right to play CSI at 10:30am.

In a game that featured a great pitching matchup between CSI’s Danielle Ponsiglione and Baruch’s Nicole Flint, it was early hitting that saw the game open up in the early innings.  CSI struck first, scoring a single digit in both the first and second innings to take a 2-0 lead after two frames. 

A bizarre play opened the scoring for the Dolphins, as with Kaitlyn Flynn at second base with two out, Joanna Tepedino looped a hit that landed between second base and shortstop that looked as if it may get caught.  Flynn never thought about rounding third and she went home on the play for the Dolphins first run.  Tepedino took advantage of the throw, taking second, but nailed out at third trying to overextend the play, ending the threat, but not before the damage was done.  With one out in the second frame, CSI’s Stefanie Solari doubled when her fly ball landed in left field, passed a diving Melanie Pellegrino at shortstop.  After Solari was moved over to third, the freshman came in to score on Michelle Ferraiuolo’s base hit.

Baruch registered a run to answer in the third to answer thanks to three hits in the frame.  An Elizabeth Santos streaking ground ball through the left side did the honors, scoring Michele Runko who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning.  Santos, however, was tagged out at second base trying to extend the hit on the throw, ending the threat.

The Dolphins went down in order in the fourth and so did the Bearcats in their turn in the fifth before the Dolphins added a vital insurance marker in the fifth.  Ferraiuolo started the rally with a double to right-centerfield, and two batters later, Kristi Dillon stroked a single to bring in Ferraiuolo.  Flint got out of the inning, but not before CSI claimed a 3-1 lead.

Baruch, however, refused to go quietly, scoring a run in the sixth on another unorthodox play.  With runners at first and second base with two out, catcher Carmen Pagan-Colon popped up innocently to the shallow infield.  Due to a CSI miscommunication, no one fielded the pop-up, and inexplicably, once the ball was picked up, an ill-advised throw to first base allowed Kimberly Hernandez (who was pinch-running for Flint) to score from second base.  A heads-up play by Ponsiglione, however, at first base, led to Olivia Aumon being tagged out at third base when Ponsiglione fired a shot to Kaitlyn Flynn.  The inning was over, but CSI’s lead was cut to one, 3-2.  Concern then took center stage as Aumon was hurt on the play, leaving her immobile for nearly 20 minutes, as an ambulance crew was called in to aid.  Aumon was considered to be okay when leaving the field as her visit to the hospital was deemed to be solely precautionary.

After a long break play resumed, and despite the delay, both pitchers seemed comfortable.  Despite allowing a hit, Flint retired the Dolphins in the sixth.  Ponsiglione was also sharp retiring the first two batters in the seventh.  Dramatics ensued, however, as a Julia Giustiniani routine ground-ball was misplayed by second-baseman Raechel Strobel, and one batter later, Pellegrino hit a blooper just over first base to put runners at first and second with two out.  Needing a hit to tie, CSI’s fielding then made the play of the game.  Santos was next up, and the shortstop laced a lined shot in between shortstop and third base.  CSI shortstop Diana Stout sprawled out to stop the ball, then got to her knees and threw to first to try and get Santos.  First baseman Tepedino fully extended to receive the throw and caught Santos by a half of a step to register the final out on a play that would have scored Giustiniani.

Ponsiglione merited the win, going the distance, allowing eight runs, while fanning five, bringing her season total to 100 strikeouts.  Flint recorded the loss allowing the three runs on eight hits.  For CSI Head Coach Stella Porto, the two wins on the day moved her up to 201 for her career, a terrific accomplishment.

For CSI, the win puts them in the driver’s seat tomorrow.  The Dolphins need to win just one game to secure the Championship.  Anticipated start time for CSI is 12:30pm as they will face the winner of a 10:30am elimination game between Baruch and Hunter.  Baruch defeated Hunter earlier today, 4-2.  In the first elimination game, Hunter defeated Brooklyn, 3-2, to also advance to tomorrow’s game.

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