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Moravian Goes Extra Innings To Claim Second Landmark Softball Title

Moravian Goes Extra Innings To Claim Second Landmark Softball Title

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Junior pinch runner Katie Flood scampered home with the winning run on an error on a ball hit by senior catcher Deanna Mangieri as top seed and host Moravian won the 2009 Landmark Conference Tournament Championship with a 6-5, nine-inning victory over second seed Susquehanna University at a rainy Blue & Grey Field.

With the victory, the Greyhounds claim their second straight Landmark Conference Championship and the program’s ninth consecutive conference title. Moravian is now 34-9 on the year and awaits the NCAA selection show on Monday, May 4th on www.ncaa.com at 11:00 a.m. to see if the team received one of the five Pool B/Independent berths to the 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament. Susquehanna completes its season with an overall mark of 22-15.

The victory was Moravian’s third this season in seven extra inning games, and it was also the Greyhounds’ seventh win in 13 one-run games this spring.

Moravian took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. Senior outfielder Erica Klepeisz drew a walk to start the inning, and sophomore shortstop Stephanie Falzarano added a one-out hit. Freshman outfielder Olivia Evanko was hit by a pitch to load the bases before senior pitcher/designated player Maria DeBonis drew an RBI walk to send Klepeisz home. Senior first baseman Sheri Bieniek followed with an RBI sacrifice fly to score Falzarano. Moravian would leave the bases loaded in the game.

The Greyhounds would add three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend the lead to 5-0. Klespeisz singled with one out but was out at second on a fielder’s choice on a ball hit by sophomore third baseman Maura Agnew. Falzarano came up and ripped an RBI double to right center field scoring Agnew from first base. Evanko and DeBonis drew walks to load the bases for Bieniek, who hit a two-RBI single up the middle to score Falzarano and Evanko. Freshman second baseman Jenna Carmon drew a walk to reload the bases but Moravian didn’t score again.

Susquehanna scored three times in the top of the fifth inning to cut Moravian’s lead to 5-3. Junior catcher Kelli Holota had an infield single to start the inning and freshman Courtney Miller came in to pinch run. Sophomore third baseman Shelly Landis drew a walk as did junior second baseman Katie Connors to load the bases with two outs. Freshman outfielder Lisa Finizio then hit a base-clearing, three-RBI double to right center field.

Moravian had a chance to add to its lead in the bottom of the fifth inning but Mangieri was thrown out at the plate by Finizio while trying to score on a fly ball hit by Klepeisz.

The Crusaders tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the sixth inning with two more runs. Senior outfielder Gretchen Halsey led off with a single and sophomore Sara Bartoletti came in to run. Senior first baseman Laurie Blaszka singled before Holata hit an RBI double down the left field line to score Bartoletti after Moravian made a pitching change. Landis would tie the contest with an RBI single that sent Blaszka home.

The Greyhounds left a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth inning, and Moravian left a total of 11 runners on base in the game.

Susquehanna looked as if it had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth inning when Connors led off with a single and Finizio reached on an error with one out. However, Moravian sophomore pitcher Elizabeth Python induced a pair of fly ball outs to end the inning.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Bieniek singled and Flood came into run. Carmon would reach second base and Flood moved to third on a Susquehanna throwing that would have ended the inning. Sophomore outfielder Amanda Paulus drew a walk to load the bases for Mangieri. Mangieri hit the ball on the ground towards shortstop where the ball was bobbled and then Mangieri beat a bad throw to first base while Flood came in with the winning run.

Susquehanna had an 8-7 edge in hits in the game with Holata going three-for-four. Falzarano was three-for-five with a pair of runs scored for Moravian while Bieniek was two-for-four with three RBIs.

Python earned her seventh win of the season in the circle for the Greyhounds, after allowing just four hits with one strikeout in four innings of relief work. DeBonis started for Moravian but received a no decision after giving up five runs on four hits and three walks with one strikeout.

Sophomore pitcher Kim Rubino took the loss for the Crusaders, falling to 8-2 on the year, after giving up an unearned run on three hits and a walk with one strikeout in 4 2/3 innings of relief work. Sophomore Cara Swerdlow started in the circle for Susquehanna and allowed five runs on four hits and five walks while striking out two batters.

Story provided by Moravian Sports Information