Fredonia State opens seasons with double-header split

CLERMONT, Fla. – Fredonia State opened its 2014 softball season by splitting a pair of games Sunday at the Dot Richardson Spring Games.

The Blue Devils opened the day – and began the Tony Ciccarello coaching era – with a 3-1 win over Trinity, Conn., then fell to Springfield, 6-0, in the nightcap.

Kelsey Gannett tossed a complete-game three-hitter with nine strikeouts in the opener. She was in line to lose the game before her teammates rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth inning.

Cherise Gunnell (Falconer) jump-started the rally with a triple halfway up the fence in left-center. She scored on a grounder to short by Jess Lauck, who advanced to second when the throw to the plate bounced away.

Lindsey Forness (Allegany) then singled to center, putting runners at the corners and Kim Lotocki hit a smash off the pitcher’s glove which resulted in a fielder’s choice and an RBI as Lauck scored. Megan Medina capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to deep left-center.

Gannett pitched out of a jam after Trinity put runners on second and third in the last of the sixth. She also pitched around a one-out single in the seventh.

Lauck, Forness, and Alyssa Morgan had two hits each for the Blue Devils while Erica Correa had an RBI double in the first inning for Trinity. Lily Jewell was the losing pitcher.

The game marked the head coaching debut of Ciccarello at Fredonia State. He has previously coached at Geneseo and New Paltz.

Against Springfield, the Blue Devils failed to come up with a clutch hit against Springfield’s Jennifer Joseph while Fredonia State’s Alyssa Brognano was the victim of one bad inning.

The Blue Devils had a chance to take the lead in the last of the third when Alyssa DiBiase reached on an error, went to second on one of two hits by Morgan and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Erin Mushtare. Gunnell then lofted an apparent sacrifice fly to left and DiBiase slid home just ahead of the throw. The run was taken down when, upon appeal, DiBiase was called out for leaving early.

The game remained scoreless until the fifth when Springfield, taking advantage of an error, scored five runs off Brognano. The big hit was a bases-clearing triple by pinch-hitter Tasha Polana.

Joseph finished with 10 strikeouts to earn the win while Brognano had seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. In addition to the two hits by Morgan, Lotocki also had two hits – a double and a single – and Lauck tripled.

The Blue Devils are scheduled to play two more games today – 1 p.m. vs. Bowdoin and 3 p.m. vs. Macalester – although the forecasted weather is thunderstorms.