The Pitt-Bradford softball team's comeback victory over Clark highlighted the second day of play at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Florida. The Panthers were edged 4-2 by Bridgewater St. to open the day but rallied to defeat Clark by the same score.
Pitt-Bradford took a 1-0 lead in the first against Bridgewater St. on Madison East's RBI single but left the bases loaded. The Bears took advantage of a two-out error in the bottom half of the frame, scoring twice, to jump ahead 2-1.
Fielding miscues led to two more runs for the Bears in the third inning. An error and a pair of infield singles loaded the bases, and following a force out at home, pitcher Morgan Bellush failed to field a groundball, allowing the runner from third to score. Bridgewater St. tacked on another run in the next at bat with a RBI sacrifice fly.
The Panthers cut the deficit to 4-2 in the fifth inning on Betty Fratercangelo's run-scoring single with no outs and the bases loaded but squandered a chance to add more. Lindsey Hull struck out in the next at bat, and Sophia Fratercangelo grounded into a force out at home. The threated ended with pinch-hitter Liz Dzurisin sharply grounding out to the shortstop.
The Bears' Kathleen Bailey retired Pitt-Bradford in order in the sixth inning and worked around a lead-off single in the seventh to deal the Panthers their third straight narrow defeat to open the season. The Blue and Gold struggled to deliver with runners in scoring position, going 3-15 and stranding 11 runners.
Bellush surrendered just four hits in a complete-game effort and did not walk a batter; all four Bridgewater St. runs were unearned. Melissa Nye finished with two of the Panthers' six hits.
Pitt-Bradford fell behind early but staged a rally in the late innings to stun Clark in the nightcap.
Dzurisin yielded three straight hits to open the bottom of the first inning, the latter a two-run triple down the right field line to give Clark a 2-0 lead. The sophomore pitcher rebounded, retiring the next three Cougars in order to strand the runner at third.
Grace Dadzaa singled to the gap in leftfield to lead off the third inning and moved to second base on Sam Hribal's sacrifice bunt. Dadzaa stole third, and she scored on East's groundout to the right side of the infield to trim the deficit to 2-1.
Pitt-Bradford went ahead for good in the fifth inning. Nye singled to open the frame, and pinch-runner Karissa Cratty stole second base to move into scoring position. Following a strikeout, Chelsey Henry pinch hit and singled to left field, moving Cratty to third.
After a pitching change, Dadzaa re-entered as the runner for Henry and promptly stole second base. Cratty was awarded home moments later when the Cougars' Sami West was charged with an illegal pitch, and two batters later, East singled up the middle, scoring Dadzaa to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead.
Pitt-Bradford mounted a two-out rally in the seventh to add an insurance run. Dadzaa singled, beating the shortstop's throw by a step, and Hribal ripped a ball down the left field line past the diving third baseman for her only hit of the game.
East came through again for the Panthers in the next at bat, lining a ball to left field to easily score Dadzaa from second.
Dzurisin worked around a lead-off base runner in the final half-inning to sit the Cougars down in order and preserve Pitt-Bradford's first win. She retired 14 of the final 15 batters and recorded seven strikeouts.
East went 2-3 with three RBIs, and Dadzaa finished with two hits, two stolen bases and three runs scored.
Pitt-Bradford improves to 1-3 on the season and will play Wheelock and Rivier Wednesday.