ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – The Brandeis softball team suffered a pair of setbacks today at the 2011 University Athletic Association tournament in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Judges dropped a 12-0 decision in five innings to Emory, the No. 10 team in the most recent National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll, and an 8-2 loss to Rochester, producing a season-split between those two squads. With the defeats, Brandeis falls to 3-5 overall, 2-3 in the UAA.
Brandeis loaded the bases against Emory starter Lena Brottman in the bottom of the first. With two outs, junior DP Marianne Specker (Windsor, Conn./Westminster School) and senior 3B Danielle Lavallee (Sutton, Mass./Notre Dame Acad.) each singled through the left side of the infield. Junior RF Samantha Gajewski (Elk Ridge, Md./Long Reach) was hit by a pitch to pack the sacks, but Brottman got a strikeout to avoid any damage.
Unfortunately for the Judges, they managed just two more base runners the rest of the way, on walks to lead off the second and third innings, but that was all the offense they could muster. Meanwhile, EU was able to take advantage of junior Caroline Miller's (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./Harriton) struggles, rapping out 10 hits and drawing eight walks to score their 12 runs (eight earned). Including their second game of the day, Emory has outscored opponents 57-3 in the UAA tournament thus far
In their second game of the day, Brandeis's offensive woes continued, as they managed two runs on just four hits in their loss to Rochester. After falling behind early again thanks to a run-scoring double by Yellowjacket DP Nina Korn, the Judges let a first-inning opportunity go by the wayside again. They loaded the bases on three walks, but UR got a strikeout to avoid the trouble.
Rochester added two more runs in the second inning as centerfielder Katie McLean, who had scored the first run after a walk and a stolen base, produced a two-run double that proved to be the game-winning hit. In the bottom of the second, it was Brandeis's turn with a big two-bagger, as junior 2B Brittany Grimm (Perkiomenville, Pa./Perkiomen Valley) knocked in senior 1B Courtney Kelley (Leicester, Mass./Notre Dame Acad.) and rookie catcher Leah McWilliams (Billerica, Mass./Billerica Memorial).
The Judges had another golden opportunity in the third when they put runners on first and second with one out, but UR pitcher Sarah Hutchinson struck out the next two batters. That set off a string of 13 in a row retired by Hutchinson, until a Carly Schmand (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) double in the seventh, but Rochester scored five more runs before then.
Korn and McLean were the hot hitters for the visiting team. Korn finished 3-for-4 with four RBI, two doubles, a run scored and a stolen base. McLean as 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI, three runs scored, a double and two stolen bases. Brandeis starter Melissa Nolan (Windsor, Conn./Loomis Chaffee) suffered the loss, her first of the season.
Brandeis plays just one UAA contest tomorrow, against Case Western Reserve University at 12:30 p.m., before taking on Washington University and Emory on Monday.