Softball finally plays UAA games, sweeps NYU, 3-1 and 9-1

Keri Lehtonen '19 (Photo by / Mike Broglio)
Keri Lehtonen '19 (Photo by / Mike Broglio)

BRONX, N.Y. – After four canceled games and one postponed doubleheader, the Brandeis University softball team finally opened University Athletic Association play today as the Judges swept rival New York University, 3-1 and 9-1, at Bahoshy Field in the Bronx. With the win, the Judges extend their best start in program history to 14-straight games as they move to 13-0-1, 2-0 in the UAA. NYU falls to 13-7, 1-3 UAA. 

In the opener, NYU struck first, loading the bases with nobody out. 2B Lauren Kong then sent a sacrifice fly to right field, but Brandeis sophomore Bridget Cifuni (Georgetown, Mass./Brooks School0) was able to gun down a runner advancing to third for a key second out to escape the inning with just one run allowed.

The Judges answered with three runs in the top of the third. After the first two batters reached on a hit batter and a single, senior catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) doubled to left to tie the game up. Back-to-back infield grounders by Cifuni and sophomore SS Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) gave the Judges the 3-1 lead.

That was more than enough for Brandeis junior Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest), who allowed just one NYU hit the rest of the way. Todd would throw her fifth complete game of the season and the 21st of her career as she improved to 7-0 on the campaign. She allowed one earned run and struck out four while walking three. It was the third straight game and fourth overall this season that Todd has allowed just one earned run in a start. Lehtonen had Brandeis's only extra-base hit with her RBI double, while sophomore CF Melissa Rotherberg (Lawrenceville, N.J. / Lawrence) had the only multi-hit game with a pair of singles and a run scored.

NYU's Karissa Zubulake suffered the loss after allowing six hits and three earned runs. She fanned four and did not walk a batter, falling to 7-4 on the season.

In the second game, Brandeis's offense came to life, scoring nine runs on 15 hits. Eight of nine starters had hits for the Judges, including three each for Fujita and Todd. Lehtonen added two hits, both for extra bases. She provided a two-run triple in the sixth and a three-run double in the seventh as the Judges blew open a game that had been 1-0 headed into the late-going.

For a while, it looked as if Todd's RBI double in the third might hold up. Rookie starter Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif / Notre Dame) was in command, allowing just two NYU hits with five strikeouts through the first six innings. Though the Violets got to Goldman for a run on three hits in the seventh, it was far too little too late after the Judges sent eight hitters to the plate for three runs in the sixth and 10 batters to produce five runs in the seventh. Goldman improved to 5-0 with the win, finishing with a final line of  seven innings, one unearned run, seven strikeouts and three walks.

The offensive big blows were Lehtonen's RBI hits, which gave her five RBI in a game for the third time in her career and second against NYU.

Maggie Swan took the loss for the hosts, falling to 4-2 after giving up 12 hits and four runs (three earned) with four Ks.

The teams will meet for a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. at Drew University in New Jersey.