Softball Starts 1-1 With Walk-Off Win vs. Bethany Lutheran

Softball Starts 1-1 With Walk-Off Win vs. Bethany Lutheran

TUCSON, Mass - A pair of one-run games would get the Nighthawks off to a 1-1 start to the season, following a 1-0 loss to the Hiram College Terriers and a walk-off, 4-3 victory over the Bethany Lutheran Vikings on Monday at the Tucson Invitational. The Nighthawks had a number of opportunities to produce big offense in both games, but batted just 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position in the pair of games.

Game One: Hiram 1 - Newbury 0

A double steal in the top of the second inning by Hiram that scored Terriers sophomore Kourtney Holcomb (Garrettsville, Ohio) was the only run of the game in the Hiram Terriers 1-0 victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Monday morning in the Arizona Desert; the opening game of the season for the Nighthawks.

The second inning started with a Holcomb single. She advanced to second on a groundout. Another single for senior Brittany Zajac (Corry, Pa.) would put runners on the corners for the Terriers. In the next at-bat, Zajac stole second and Holcomb took home on a delayed steal for the only run of the morning.

Holcomb and Zajac both finished 2-for-3 for the Terriers, totaling four of the Terriers eight hits in the morning game. 

Seniors Lindsey Clark (Venice, Fla.) and Elizabeth Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii), as well as sophomore Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.) all finished 1-for-3, Vieria doubled in the sixth for the Nighthawks.

The Nighthawks threatened several times after falling behind 1-0.

In the third, freshman Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) drew a one-out walk, then stole second on the next batter. Sophomore Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) reached on an error and advanced to second, moving Gooden to third with one out in the third.

Terriers sophomore Makenzie Dombrowski (Streetsboro, Ohio) pitched her way out of the jam, striking out Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) and Naomi Ricciotti (Phoenix, Ariz.) to end the third.

Kia reached on her single in the bottom of the fourth with one out. Dombrowski would again strike out two Nighthawks to end the inning.

Clark found herself on second in the fifth inning, but was thrown out at third trying to tag up on a Milauskas fly out to center.

Vieira doubled in the sixth, but Kia grounded out to short to end the inning.

In the seventh, a hit batter put a runner on for the Nighthawks with no outs. Averi Johnson (Oregon City, Ore.) was thrown out trying to steal second and two more strikeouts for Dombrowski would end the Nighthawks hope for a comeback.

The Nighthawks had a number of good opportunities, but batted 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Nighthawks freshman Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) pitched a complete game, allowing just the one run, while striking out three. The loss moves Stefan to 0-1.

Dombrowski pitched a complete game, allowing three hits, walking three, but striking out 11. Dombrowski improves to 1-0, taking credit for the victory.

Game Two: Newbury 4 - Bethany Lutheran 3

With two out in the bottom of the seventh and the game tied at three, Vieira came through with an RBI single down the right field line, scoring Ricciotti from third, giving the Nighthawks a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Bethany Lutheran Vikings in the Nighthawks first win of the season.

Vieira finished 2-for-4 with a first-inning double. Riccotti, who scored the game-winning run, finished 2-for-3, including a critical seventh-inning triple with two out. Sass finished 2-for-4, with a triple in the first.

Vikings freshman Samantha Meginber (Lloydminster, AB, CAN) finished 3-for-3, including a double. Junior Cindy Pawlitschek (St. Paul, Minn.) was 2-for-2, with a pair of singles.

It was a quick start for both teams as the first inning yielded high offense for both teams.

With one out in the fisrt inning, Vikings junior Anna Pipenhagen (Elk River, Minn.) reached first on a walk. Pawlitschek followed the walk with a single, giving the Vikings runners on first and second.

Following a strikeout, freshman Meginber singled. A Nighthawks error would help score Pipenhagen and Pawlitschek as well as Meginber, giving the Vikings a 3-0 lead after the top of the first.

In the bottom half of the inning and Gooden on second, a Sass RBI triple scored Gooden to open the scoring for the Nighthawks. Sass would cut the deficit to 3-2, scoring on a wild pitch.

A Ricciotti walk and Vieira double would put runners on second and third, still with one out. Kia grounded out to short, scoring Ricciotti and tying the game 3-3 in the first.

The Nighthawks threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with one out, thanks to a pair of singles and an error by the Vikings shortstop. An infield popout and a groundout to second would end the inning, getting the Vikings out of the jam.

Milauskas settled down after allowing three first inning runs, allowing just four hits in the final six innings. For the game, Milauskas finished with a complete game, allowing no earned runs, six hits, while striking out two. The win moves Milauskas to 1-0.

Pawlitschek was chased after just 1/3 of an inning to start, allowing the Nighthawks first three runs on three hits, she was credited with a no decision.

Pipenhagen came in to replace Pawlitschek, pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits, while striking out 10.

The victory also gives Caitlin Benyi her first career win as a head coach.

The Nighthawks finish the day 1-1 and are back in action tomorrow with another doubleheader. The Nighthawks get William Penn at 3:30 p.m. EST, followed by Dakota Wesleyan; scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EST.