LEE COUNTY, Fla. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford softball team wrapped up its Florida trip with a pair of thrilling wins against Nichols and Curry Sunday.
"This was a great way to end our Florida trip," Head Coach Tina Phillips said. "Our bats came to life again today. Morgan pitched great in game one to bounce back from a rough outing yesterday. What a clutch play by Natalie to end our final game. We took advantage of a timely error and broke through with some runs. Kerrigan gave us another great game and did a great job of working ahead."
Against Curry, the Panthers held a 2-1 lead with one out in the top of the seventh and the bases loaded. Curry lofted a fly ball to Natalie Harding in right field, who made the catch and fired home to catcher Kendra Colegrove, who tagged out the potential game-tying run and secured the win.
Kerrigan Hoffmann tossed all seven innings in the circle and took a perfect game into the fifth inning.
Madison East drove in a run in each game.
Pitt-Bradford finishes its 10 season-opening games in Florida with a 6-4 record.
Game One: Pitt-Bradford 6, Nichols 3
After a clean top of the first, the Panthers stormed out to three runs in the bottom of the first, capitalizing on three Nichols errors.
East doubled with Betty Fratercangelo aboard, who scored on an errant cut-off throw from the Nichols second baseman.
Liz Dzurisin then walked, and attempted to steal second, which forced an overthrow from the Nichols catcher and allowed East to score.
Dzurisin later came into score on a dropped fly ball by the Nichols center fielder.
Nichols got two back in the top of the second on a two-run double down the left-field line.
Both pitchers and defenses then settled in before Pitt-Bradford added a run in the fifth.
East led off the frame with a walk. Dzurisin then laid down a bunt but the Nichols catcher threw the ball high and it allowed East to score all the way from first.
Nichols then got one back, using three hits to score one in the sixth to bring the score to 4-3 in favor of the Panthers.
Pitt-Bradford scored a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Dadzaa singled, then Sophia Fratercangelo doubled. Hribal then worked a bunt single to load the bases.
Uhing came on to close out the game in the top of the seventh.
The leadoff hitter reached on a single, but she'd stay stranded as Uhing would earn the save striking out the final batter swinging.
Bellush struck out three in the six innings she pitched while earning her second win of the season.
Game Two: Pitt-Bradford 2, Curry 1
Pitt-Bradford worked the bases loaded in the top of the first with walks, but a groundout ended the threat.
In the circle for the Panthers, Hoffmann took a perfect game into the fifth.
However, a base hit with one away served as Curry's first base runner. She would be left stranded, though, as Hoffmann induced a fielder's choice and a groundout to leave the runner stranded.
The Panthers scored their only two runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Harding walked and later scored the first run of the game on an RBI single from East.
Next up, Emily McIntosh bunted but the catcher threw the ball off her helmet when throwing down to first base, allowing Dadzaa to score.
Both teams failed to score in the sixth, bringing up Curry in the seventh needing two to extend the ballgame.
With one away, three-straight singles led to Curry's first run of the game.
That set the stage for the thrilling finish, the fly ball caught by Harding, who delivered a strike from right field to beat the potential tying run.
The two teams combined for just eight hits.
Pitt-Bradford pitching did not walk one single batter faced.
Jenna Hicks knocked a double in the sixth inning for the lone extra-base hit of the game.
Sunday's action wraps up the Panthers' 10-game Florida trip. Up next, the Panthers will travel to Virginia next weekend for four games, first taking on Roanoke before playing Bridgewater.