RC Falls to Montclair St. in Second Game
Maroons to Meet Luther in Sunday Elimination Game
SALEM, Va. --- Roanoke College ran into another one of the NCAA's finest hurlers on Saturday night, falling to Montclair State University, 2-0, in its second game of the 2012 NCAA DIII Softball Championships.
The Maroons (34-10) move to the elimination bracket, where they will face off against Luther College in an elimination game. That contest is scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. Luther scored its first run in Salem in the past two NCAA Championships on Saturday in its 2-1 victory over Ohio Northern. The Red Hawks of Montclair State (44-7) advance to play Pacific Lutheran University at 5:00 p.m. in the winner's bracket semifinal on Sunday.
Things looked strong early for the Maroons. In the bottom of the first inning, Leona Rainey led off with an outstanding heads-up double. However, Montclair State's pitcher, Alex Hill, struck out two and caused one Maroon to fly out. After one, the score was locked up at 0-0.
In the second and third inning, the game resembled the pitchers duel played the night before. Both teams were retired in order in the second. In the third, the Red Hawks got a runner on base with a single, but couldn't come around for the run.
The tides started to change in the top of the fourth, as Montclair's Jamie Paulino and Dana Amato led off with singles. Hill laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. The Red Hawks scored the first run of the game as Alisha Cumberton hit an infield single to score Paulino, taking the 1-0 lead. The next two Red Hawks advanced on consecutive errors, scoring one more. After the top of the fourth, Montclair State led 2-0.
Roanoke was able to get a runner on the base paths in both the fourth and fifth innings, but couldn't bat them around in either instance. The Maroons got into some trouble in the sixth inning, allowing two Red Hawks' runners on with two outs. Kelly Higbie was able to work out of the jam and keep the deficit at two runs.
Higbie and the defense made quick work of Montclair State in the top of the seventh inning, but were unable to get anything going offensively in the bottom of the seventh, falling 2-0.
The unranked Maroons are 7-6 against ranked opponents this year, having defeated six since the start of the ODAC Tournament. They will face off against #6 ranked Norse of Luther College on Sunday.
The Maroons were only able to tally two hits with a double by Rainey and a single by Stephanie Clark. Higbie pitched her 35th complete game and now holds a record of 29-9. With her four strikeouts on the evening, Higbie broke the Roanoke single-season strikeouts record, tallying 136. She passes Lyndsi Craig, who struck out 132 batters in 2006.
Montclair State's Hill only allowed two hits and struck out 12 of Roanoke's batters. Cumberton led the Red Hawks, going 2-for-3 and picking up one RBI.
For more information on the NCAA Division III Softball Championship, click here.
--- This release is courtesy of the Roanoke College sports information department. ---