NCAA Division III Softball Willimantic Regional: Ithaca Ousts Lesley From NCAA Tournament, 6-0

MANSFIELD, Conn.  – Sophomore pitchers Sam Bender (Leavittown, Pa.) and Jillian Olmstead (Magnolia, Del.) combined to toss a four-hit shutout as fourth-seeded Ithaca stayed alive as the Bombers blanked eighth-seeded Lesley, 6-0, in the elimination bracket of the 2012 NCAA Division-III Softball Willimantic Regional on a sunny Friday morning at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Ithaca sophomore Julianne Vincent (Stamford, Conn.) was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish while freshman Francesca Busa (St. James, N.Y.) went 2-for-3 and sophomore Rachel Dell'Orto (East Islip, N.Y.) drove in a pair of runs. Junior Emily Mangiaratti (Amherst, Mass.) accounted for two of Lesley's four hits.

The first inning would end in a scoreless stalemate as Ithaca strand three runners and the Lynx go down in order.

Ithaca freshman Francesca Busa (St. James, N.Y.) made contact on a 2-out RBI single for the first run of the day in the top of the second. Lesley senior Cassandra Knox (Sea Cliff, N.Y.) later recorded a strikeout to get out of a bases loaded jam.

After a leadoff single to center field by Ithaca junior Molly O'Donnell (Niskayuna, N.Y.) in the top of the third, the next six Bombers would be retired in order while Lesley mustered a pair of two-out singles in the third and fourth by Mangiaratti and sophomore Nicole Mercurio (Wakefield, Mass.), respectively.

Ithaca exited the sixth inning as a two-run double by O'Donnell gave the Bombers a 3-0 advantage.

With the bases loaded in the sixth, Lesley junior Jessica Guevara (Nantucket, Mass.) mowed down the lead runner at home as she fielded a ball put into play by junior Jennifer Biondi (Rockaway, N.J.).

The Bombers then broke the game open on a three-run double to the left field corner off the bat of sophomore Sydney Folk (Long Beach, Calif.).

The remaining nine batters in the game would be set down in order.

Bender (17-5) earned the win as she struck out three over five innings while Olmstead set down one batter via the strikeout. Lesley's Knox (10-7) shouldered the loss as she allowed four earned runs on 11 hits while fanning three batters.

Ithaca improves to 31-13 and will face the loser of the 6:30 p.m. contest between St. John Fisher and Tufts tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Lesley completes its season with a 28-12 record.