|Bowen, Jaspers Walk-Off With Split|
RIVERDALE, N.Y. - Kate Bowen (Newtown, Conn.) belted a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Manhattan College softball team (9-36, 4-10 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) a 4-0 victory over Fairfield (27-25, 9-5 MAAC) in the second game of a doubleheader at Gaelic Park on Saturday afternoon. The Stags won the first game by a 4-0 margin.
"I went down (in the count), and I knew I just had to put it in play," Bowen, who was also the winning pitcher in the game, said. "So I just tried to hit it as hard as I could, and it worked. At that point, I was just trying to pull the ball so Anna (Gallacher) could score."
Gallacher started the rally with just her second hit of the season, an infield single off the leg of Fairfield pitcher Rae Ball. Jocelin Whitmore (La Habra, Calif.) then battled her way to a walk before Amanda Babcock (Haverstraw, N.Y.) singled to left to load the bases. After falling behind in the count, Bowen belted a 1-2 pitch over the fence in right field to win the game. It was her team-leading fifth home run of the season.
"I was happy for Anna," Head Coach Tom Pardalis said. "She started it, then we got to Jocelin. They walked Jocelin and I had to make a decision whether to bunt them (the runners) over. But if I bunted them over, I knew they were going to walk Bowen, so I let Babcock hit. She came up with a big base hit to load the bases, and they had no place to put Bowen."
The contest was a classic pitcher's duel between Bowen and Ball, who threw dueling shutouts thru seven and a half innings.
Manhattan put a runner on third with two out in the sixth when Bowen reached on an error, stole second, and went to third on a passed ball. But Mickayla Romero's (Las Vegas, Nev.) line drive to third was caught to end the inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Amanda Paxson (Cedar Grove, N.J.) drew a leadoff walk, but was erased when Jen Keller (Woodridge, N.J.) lined into a double play. Carla Velasquez (Miami, Fla.) then struck out to send the contest into extra innings.
Bowen retired the Stags in order in the top of the eighth to set the stage for Manhattan's game-winning rally. She threw a masterful eight innings, giving up just two hits and one walk. Bowen (4-13) struck out four in her second shutout of the season. Her grand slam was one of two hits she had in the contest. Overall, Manhattan collected seven hits.
"She did a great job. Bowen's been our steady player all year long," Pardalis said. "She gave us an opportunity to win. And she does that every time she steps on the field."
Fairfield's only hits off Bowen were a third-inning double by Kristen Filicia and Sammy Ruffolo's sixth-inning single. Ball (12-10) matched Bowen pitch-for-pitch over the first seven innings. She allowed four runs on seven hits, struck out five and walked three.
It marked the second straight year in which Manhattan won its final home game of the season on a walk-off home run. Last season, Nicole Michel's two-run blast beat Saint Peter's, 14-13.
In game one, Fairfield took advantage of a Manhattan error to put two runs on the board in the top of the first. The Stags loaded the bases with two out in the second, but Whitmore made a brilliant catch on a sinking line drive to right field to end the inning without Fairfield adding to its lead. The Stags did add an insurance tally on Ball's sacrifice fly in the fifth, then turned a walk and three straight singles into a run in the top of the seventh.
The Jaspers collected six hits in game one, with Whitmore going 3-for-4 in the leadoff spot. Meghan McDevitt (Nutley, N.J.) had a pair of hits in the contest, while Babcock added a single. Kelsi Redding (Tucson, Ariz.) (4-13) took the loss in the circle after surrendering four runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out four and walking seven in a complete game effort.
Alli Wigand was 2-for-2 with an RBI for the Stags. Ruffolo reached base three times, going 1-for-1 with two walks, and scored a pair of runs. Overall, Fairfield tallied eight hits in the contest. Rebecca Trott (15-13) tossed a six-hit shutout in the circle, walking four and striking out two.
Manhattan concludes the 2012 season with a 12 p.m. twinbill at Saint Peter's (5-24, 1-13 MAAC) on Sunday.