Softball goes to extra lengths for historic sweep of Emory

Keri Lehtonen '19 (photo by Alice Shore)
Keri Lehtonen '19 (photo by Alice Shore)

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Brandeis University softball team picked up a historic University Athletic Association (UAA) sweep today, as the Judges defeated host Emory University twice in extra innings. In their first-ever true UAA road games, Brandeis defeated the Eagles, 4-1, in eight innings in the opener on a home run by rookie 3B PJ Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional). In the second game, sophomore catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) drove in three runs, including a two-out, two-run double in the sixth and a bases-loaded walk in the eighth as the Judges earned a 5-4 victory.

HOW IT HAPPENED – GAME ONE (Brandeis 4, Emory 1, 8 innings)

  • Brandeis picked up their first-ever win in Atlanta thanks to a three-run home run by rookie 3B PJ Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional) in the top of the eighth inning.
  • The Judges opened the scoring in the top of the first when sophomore catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) was hit by a pitch and bunted to second.
  • A single from sophomore LF Marissa DeLaurentis (Centereach, N.Y./ St. John the Baptist Diocesesan) put runners on the corners, and senior 1B Allison Hecht (Melville, N.Y. / Half Hollow Hills East) executed a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home Lehtonen.
  • The Judges had more chances to extend their lead, but Emory was able to strand runners on base in each of the next five innings, including two in each of the first four frame.
  • Meanwhile, Brandeis rookie pitcher Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest) kept the home team at bay through the first three innings.
  • Emory broke through in the bottom of the fourth, as 3B Jessie Michael singled to center to open the frame and was bunted to second.
  • RF Sam Vincent laid down a bunt in front of the plate, and when the throw to first hit her in the back and rolled away, Michael scampered home with the tying run as Vincent took second.
  • Another single put two more runners in scoring position after pinch hitter Jenna Wilson took an extra base as Brandeis kept an eye on Vincent, but Todd was able to escape further damage with an infield pop and a grounder to short.
  • Todd stranded three runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings to force extra innings.
  • Brandeis got things off to good start in the eighth, as junior CF Amanda Shore (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) led off with a double.
  • After Emory pitcher Sami Feller got a popup and issued a walk, Eagle coach Penny Siqueros called on Toko Miller, who had started the game, to face Ross.
  • Ross blasted the first pitch she saw over the left-center field fence to put the Judges on top. It was her second home run of the season and the team's fourth overall.
  • Todd retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth for her fifth complete game of the season and her second of more than seven innings.
  • Todd improved to 5-2 on the season with two strikeouts and two walks. She allowed eight hits and just one earned run to lower her UAA-leading ERA to 1.03.
  • In addition to Ross's big home run, Shore was the offensive star, going 3-4 with a run scored and a double.

HOW IT HAPPENED – GAME TWO (Brandeis 5, Emory 4, 8 innings)

  • The second game featured a whopping 20 walks issued, none bigger than Lehtonen's free pass with the bases loaded in the eighth.
  • The Judges were responsible for 11 free passes, with two scoring on wild pitches in the second and third innings to give Emory a 2-0 lead.
  • Despite their wildness, Brandeis pitchers were able to limit the damage to just one run at a time, as the Eagles left the bases loaded in four consecutive innings from the fourth to the seventh.
  • The Judges tied the game at two on a two-out, two-run single by DeLaurentis that plated rookies Brianna Urena (Somerset, Mass. / Somerset Berkley Regional) and Caroline Sippin (Coram, N.Y. / Longwood).
  • Emory scored their third run on four straight walks to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
  • Lehtonen's two-bagger brought home Sippin and Urena again in the top of the sixth, putting Brandeis on top, 4-3. It was the only extra-base hit of the game.
  • Emory responded in the bottom of the inning with yet another free pass with the sacks packed, tying the game at 4-4.
  • Brandeis went in order in the top of the seventh, but Emory threatened in the bottom of the frame on a couple of balls that just eluded Judge defenders. Todd got a fly to shallow center and grounder to second to send the game to extra innings
  • After seeing their opponents do the same on three occasions, the Judges scored without benefit of a hit in the top of the eighth, thanks to four straight walks, the last by Lehtonen.
  • Todd set the Eagles down in order for the first time since the first inning to clinch her second win of the day, improving to 6-2 and lowering her ERA to 0.97.

HISTORIC SWEEP

  • Brandeis entered the day with just two prior wins over Emory – in 1999 and 2014.
  • They had lost the previous two extra-inning contests against the Eagles – in 2009 and 2015.
  • Emory was ranked fourth in the nation in Division III entering the season. The Eagles reached the Division III World Series last year.
  • Since 1995, the UAA had played its tournament during one week in March in Florida. These were the first-ever on-campus UAA road games for the Judges.
  • This was the Eagles' fourth-straight loss overall and third in a row in extra innings.

UP NEXT

  • Brandeis (8-5, 3-0 UAA) and Emory (21-13, 4-6 UAA) will meet for another doubleheader tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.