NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The Iona College softball had a pair of exciting final innings in the opening doubleheader of the University of South Florida Under Armor Tournament. The Gaels came from behind to defeat the Detroit Titans 10-4, and fell to Southern Illinois in extra innings, 1-2.
GAME 1: Iona 10, Detroit 4
Seniors Christine Costello and Sarah Schutz each knocked in two runs, and junior Kelsey Long scored three times, reaching base twice on hits. Freshman 2B Hailey Thompson recorded one hit and a game-high three RBI.
Iona scored their first run of the game in the top of the first when Schutz hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring junior Ashlyn Morris. The Maroon & Gold would strike again in the fourth, using an RBI sac fly from Thompson, and single from junior Katie Newton.
Detroit tallied one run in the fourth, then scored three runs in the fifth to get back within striking distance. Control being the main issue for the Iona pitchers, particularly in the fifth, head Coach Melissa Inouye road with senior Jordan Courage and allowed her to muster her way through he struggles.
Freshman Alana Evans began the game, going 3.2 innings, allowing one earned run, striking out five, while allowing five free passes. Courage earned the win, going 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs, walking eight, and hitting two batters.
The Gaels pitching staff kept the Titans at bay, allowing Iona to take control of the game over the course of their final two at bats. In the sixth, Thompson singled through the left side, scoring Long once again. Come the final frame, Iona put together a monstrous inning; six runs on five hits.
GAME 2: Southern Illinois 2, Iona 1 (7 innings)
The game was scoreless for the first four innings until junior Kristen Turner doubled home freshman Marisa Gergel with two outs in the top of the fifth. Iona took the slim one-to-nothing lead into the next inning; sophomore Jessica Heese started off the inning with a triple, then scored on a senior Christine Costello wild pitch.
Iona went down one-two-three in the top of the seventh. The Salukis were able to score the game-winning walk off by of a leadoff single from freshman Eryika Brandenburg, followed by a double from the bat of junior Shaye Harre.
Costello pitched a competitive game, going 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits and seven walks. Southern Illinois had three extra base hits.
The top six batters in the Gaels order each had one hits, with Turner and senior Sarah Schutz registering the only two extra-baggers.
Iona continues the USF Under Armor Invitational taking on Central Michigan and Green Bay on Saturday, March 12, and concluding with Western Michigan on Sunday, March 13.