NCAA Division III Softball Willimantic Regional: Coast Guard Outlasts Ithaca, 2-1, in Eight Innings

MANSFIELD, Conn.  – Freshman Erin Lisko (Waynesboro, Pa.) drove in the game-winning run on a single to left field in the top of the eighth inning as the fifth-seeded United States Coast Guard Academy claimed a 2-1 victory over fourth-seeded Ithaca College on the first day of the 2012 NCAA Division-III Softball Willimantic Regional on Thursday.

Ithaca freshman Francesca Busa (St. James, N.Y.) led off the bottom of the first with a single to center field. She came around the diamond courtesy of a Coast Guard miscue, a passed ball and was plated on an RBI sacrifice bunt off the bat of sophomore Sydney Folk (Long Beach, N.Y.).

The Bombers took a 1-0 lead into the fifth inning before the Bears brought the game to a stalemate as sophomore Kaitlin Ward (Saline, Mich.) drove a single into right field to score freshman Jessica Richardson (Kent, Wash.).

Freshman Chloe Harmon (Escondido, Calif.) reached on a knock down the first base line that was misplayed and was moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Stacia Sarwinski (Grove, Okla.) to setup Lisko's RBI-single.

Coast Guard would strand 11 runners in the contest while Ithaca left four on base.

Senior Hayley Findel (River Edge, La.) improved to 20-8 as the Coast Guard pitcher sprinkled six hits over eight innings while not allowing an earned run and setting down eight batters via the strikeout.

Sophomores Sam Bender (Levittown, Pa.) fanned five batters in four scoreless innings. Classmate Jillian Olmstead (Magnolia, Del.) shouldered the loss (14-8) as she surrendered a pair of runs – one earned – on three hits.

Coast Guard (27-17) will face the top seed and regional host Eastern Connecticut tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. while Ithaca (30-13) will play Lesley at 11:00 a.m. in an elimination game.