Bullets Fall to Defending National Champs in NCAA Opener

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Gettysburg College struck first against No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan College in its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship in 11 seasons, but the defending national champions hit back hard on the way to a 9-2 decision in the Newport News Regional hosted by Christopher Newport University.
 
Gettysburg (24-15) faced a daunting task battling top-ranked Virginia Wesleyan (46-2) and reigning National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Player of the Year Hanna Hull, but the Bullets jumped in front in the top of the third inning against the All-American pitcher. Junior Sophia Blasius (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey) drew a lead-off walk and eventually advanced to second with two outs. Sophomore Taylor Doi (Foster City, Calif./San Mateo) stroked a single to right field to score Blasius and set Gettysburg in front 1-0.
 
The Marlins answered quickly in the bottom of the frame. With the bases packed and no outs, Cassetty Howerin knocked a double deep to center field to clear the bags. Howerin came around to score right away on a hit by Katelyn Biando just out of the reach of a diving Liz Cowell (Verona, N.J./Mount Saint Dominic) in right-center field. Amy Large plated the final run with a single to center field to put Virginia Wesleyan ahead 5-1.
 
Howerin, Biando, and Large all tacked on RBI hits in the fourth inning to push the Marlins in front 8-1. Senior Stephanie Leonardo (East Haddam, Conn./Choate Rosemary Hall) cut the deficit with a solo home run to left field in the fifth inning.
 
Virginia Wesleyan closed the scoring on a solo home run by Madison Glaubke in the sixth.
 
Blasius and Doi each posted a hit and a walk for Gettysburg. Doi also swiped two bases.
 
Hull struck out nine over four innings and improved to 31-2 this season. Howerin finished 2-for-3 with two runs and four RBI, while Glaubke went 2-for-4 with three runs and one RBI. Large was 2-for-2 with two RBI.
 
Gettysburg draws a familiar foe in Saturday afternoon's elimination game. The Bullets take on Messiah College (27-17) at 3:30 p.m. The two squads split a non-conference doubleheader earlier this season with the Falcons winning the opener 4-0 and the Bullets winning the nightcap 3-2.