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Softball Erases Early Deficit to Move on at USCAA World Series

Ava Miller and Lauren Vickers vs. Mississippi University for Women on May 18, 2021.
Ava Miller and Lauren Vickers vs. Mississippi University for Women on May 18, 2021.

In the Saints' second day of USCAA Small College World Series action, the D'Youville softball team returned to elimination play at Heindl Field in DuBois, PaDespite surrendering an early two-run deficit to Mississippi University for Women, the Saints used a three-run third inning and a two-run fourth on their way to a 6-3 victory over the Owls.

Tuesday's victory improves the Saints to 15-18 on the season as they advance to the third round of the elimination bracket.

The Owls become the second team to exit the USCAA World Series at the hands of D'Youville, as the Saints eliminated Penn State Brandywine, 10-0, on Monday night. MUW finished its season with a 17-14 mark. 

For the first time in the tournament, the Saints failed to strike first as the Owls tallied one run in each of the second and third innings. Hannah Hurdle's double to left-center started the scoring for Mississippi and Megan Cummins doubled the Owls' advantage in the third inning with a single to right-center. 

Facing a two-run deficit in the top of the fourth inning, the Saints offense woke up as sophomore shortstop Maddy Pepke continued her early case for Tournament MVP, picking up her sixth hit of the World Series on a bunt single to third base. After a single by Mikaela Milleville, freshman first baseman Ava Miller drove the pair in with a single to left-center. After Miller advanced to third base on a throwing error by the MUW shortstop, the freshman advanced home on a wild pitch to hand the Saints their first lead of the game at 3-2.

A pair of base hits to right field from Madison Crosby and Hurdle put the heat on the D'Youville defense again in the bottom of the fourth inning, but senior pitcher Brittaney Goodrich got a flyout to left and a pop-out to third base to get out of the jam unscathed. 

A pair of freshman, second baseman Lauren Vickers and designated player Lauren Booth, teamed up for two doubles in the top of the fifth inning to extend the Saints' advantage to 5-2. Vickers' double led off the frame and Miller reached on a walk that set up Booth's double, a rocket that found the gap in left-center to plate both runners. Booth's two-bagger was her first of the tournament and third othe season. 

Searching for a late insurance run in the top of the seventh inning, Vickers led off the frame with a single to center field. Pepke moved her to third base on a bunt where the throw was misplayed by the MUW first baseman. Two batters later, Vickers secured that insurance run when Miller grounded out to third base. 

Goodrich (5-6) became the third different D'Youville pitcher to start in the circle for the Saints during this year's USCAA World Series. After surrendering the two early runs, Goodrich held the Owls scoreless until they cut the lead to 6-3 when they were down to their final out. In her complete-game performance, she struck out two, walked one, and allowed the three earned runs on 11 hits. 

Goodrich's counterpart in the circle, Mackenzie Denton, went the distance for MUW as well. Denton fanned 10 Saints and walked one while allowing four earned runs on eight hits. 

Notables – Pepke's bunt single in the third inning extended her on-base streak to 15 games ... Her second single in the seventh saw her reach 19 multi-hit games in 2021 ... Vickers (2-for-3) was the only other Saint to hit safely more than once in Tuesday's win-or-go-home bout. 

Getting on base early and moving runners over helped the Saints manufacture six runs in the final four innings, as D'Youville went 3-for-7 (.429) in lead-off at-bats and 5-for-13 (.429) with runners on base ... Goodrich tossed her eighth complete game of the season, which is second-best behind senior Alex Haberer's nine ... Miller (three) and Booth (two) each tallied multiple RBI for the Saints. 

Up Next – D'Youville will continue to fight through the elimination bracket when they face Penn State DuBois on Wesdesday. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. at Heindl Field in DuBois, Pa.