NCAA Division III Softball Willimantic Regional: St. John Fisher Tops University of Rochester, 8-5

MANSFIELD, Conn.  – Senior Jennifer Vanek (Smithtown, N.Y.) batted 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored to help lead sixth-seeded St. John Fisher past the third-seeded University of Rochester on the opening day of the 2012 NCAA Division III Softball Willimantic Regional by a score of 8-5 on Thursday afternoon.

Juniors Sarah Fordyce (Jordan, N.Y.) and Leanne Merchant (Scotia, N.Y.) joined Vanek in the multi-hit club with two apiece for the Cardinals while junior Kayla Goodberlet (Columbus, Ohio) walked twice. University of Rochester's senior Katie McLean (Cazenovia, N.Y.) collected three hits as freshman Alyssa Murillo (Vacaville, Calif.) hit safely twice as senior Cara Celorio (Scotia, N.Y.) drew a pair of free passes.

Fordyce would begin the offensive attack with a triple to left center. Two batters later, junior Krista Robarge (Greenfield Center, N.Y.) doubled to left center to drive in the initial tally. Goodberlet then tripled to plate Robarge before crossing home plate on a fielders' choice put into play by senior Megan Zoerb (Painted Post, N.Y).

The Cardinals then increased their advantage with another three runs in the fourth highlighted by a run-producing single by Merchant.

Rochester grabbed a pair of runs back in the bottom of the frame as sophomore Meghan Hennessy (Hamburg, N.Y.) singled and McLean doubled as each was credited with an RBI.

After a scoreless fifth, St. John Fisher tacked on another tally as Fordyce connected on a 2-out RBI single to left field.

In the bottom of the frame, Murillo launched a solo home run which was followed by a McLean RBI double to left to make it a 7-4 ballgame.

An unearned run in the top of the seventh gave the Cardinals an 8-4 advantage.

Sophomore Nina Korn (Rochester, N.Y.) looked to spark a late rally as she led off the Yellowjacket seventh inning with a blast to right field that narrowly missed the scoreboard. A pair of fly outs and a strkeout then ended the contest.

Sarah Stefanon allowed five runs – three earned - on 10 hits over six innings of work with five strikeouts. Danielle Leone picked up the save for the Cardinals.

Freshman Brittany Grange (Pittsford, N.Y.) was saddled with the loss as classmate Sarah Wayson (Owego, N,Y.) and junior Maddie Skellie (Greenwich, N.Y.) also saw time in the circle for the Yellowjackets.

Both teams are back in action tomorrow as the winner of the 6:30 p.m. contest between second-seeded Tufts and seventh-seeded Salem State will face St. John Fisher (34-12) at 6:30 p.m. while the loser of that game will matchup against University of Rochester (28-14) at 1:30 p.m.