COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College softball team wrapped up its season with a drama-filled doubleheader, throwing out the tying run at the plate to seal a wild opener en route to a Centennial Conference split with McDaniel.
Mackenzie Brennan's clutch throw nabbed the would-be equalizer at the plate and secured a 7-6 Game 1 victory for the Bears, but the Green Terror had the last laugh with a nine-run outburst to pull away for a 17-8 result in an extra-inning marathon.
Despite falling into a quick hole as McDaniel grabbed the opening run in the top of the first, the Bears roared right back with a pair in the bottom half. Julia Eckels' RBI single put Ursinus on the board, and the hosts capitalized on an error to eventually go in front on Heather Lazer's fielder's choice.
The Green Terror, however, took control with three in the fourth and tacked on another in the fifth to extend their lead to 5-2. Lazer's RBI groundout brought the Bears within 5-3 heading into the sixth and set off a wild final two frames.
With a runner on second and one out, Ursinus smashed four consecutive base hits to flip the game on its head. Morgan Comfort and Brennan grounded consecutive RBI singles up the middle to tie the game, and Eckels gave the Bears the lead for good with a slicing knock to left field. Ally St. Jean made it 7-5 with a knock to center field, which proved a critical insurance tally.
McDaniel threatened to steal the game in the top of the seventh, scoring a run to make it 7-6 and loading the bases with no outs. Gabby Ilyes, however, came on to save the day. After hitting a batter to fill the bags, she induced a grounder to third, which Megan Hasulak quickly fielded and fired home for the force.
The next batter then lofted a fly ball to medium-deep left field. Brennan settled under it and made the catch, and the runner at third made for home. Brennan threw a perfect strike to Alyssa Myers, who applied the tag for an exhilarating final out.
Eckels proved a potent table-setter for the Bears, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Brennan also scored twice from the leadoff spot, and Ally St. Jean was 2-for-4 with an RBI from the No. 3 hole.
Comfort did major damage in the No. 9 slot, finishing 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI and scoring a run to boot.
Comfort earned the win in her final appearance in the circle, allowing six hits and three earned runs. She struck out five and walked four.
Ilyes' save was the first of her career.
The teams combined for six runs and eight hits in the first inning, with the Bears answering McDaniel's pair of runs with a four-spot of their own.
St. Jean's RBI single scored Eckels with the hosts' first run, and Jordan Moore ripped a run-scoring single to right-center to tie it. With two down and runners on second and third, McDaniel's left fielder made a stunning dive to apparently rob Megan Hasulak, but the ball squirted out of her glove as she hit the ground and both runs scored to give the Bears a 4-2 lead.
The Bears appeared to be in control after Lazer's two-out, two-run single expanded the margin to 6-2, but the Green Terror had other ideas.
McDaniel scored three times in the fifth before tying the game in the sixth. The teams went into extras knotted at 6-all, and the Green Terror posted two runs in their half of the eighth.
Not ready to call it a season, Mackenzie Brennan's RBI double pulled the Bears within 8-7, and the junior came home with another tying run on Eckels' grounder to second.
McDaniel, however, went wild in the top of the ninth, racking up nine runs on nine hits to put the game to bed.
St. Jean was 3-for-4 in the nightcap, with Comfort, Lazer, and Jordan Moore each recording two hits. Comfort and St. Jean each produced five hits on the day.
Comfort ended her career with 93 hits on a .323 average to go with seven home runs, 21 doubles, and 51 RBI. She also won 14 games with a 3.21 ERA in the circle.
Lazer batted .307 with 70 hits for her career, including 17 doubles, four home runs, and 54 RBI.