Pitchers keep softball hopes alive by blanking Farmingdale State, 8-0, and Penn State Berks, 2-0

ITHACA, N.Y. – Facing two elimination games on the second day of action at the NCAA Division III Softball Regional at Ithaca College, the Brandeis University softball team got a pair of shutout performances to defeat Farmingdale State College, 8-0, and Penn State Berks, 2-0. With the wins, the Judges (29-7-1) advance to meet host and 10th-ranked Ithaca tomorrow at noon. Brandeis will need to defeat the Bombers twice to advance to next weekend's super-regionals while IC will only need to win once.

In the opener against Farmingdale State, the Judges got all the scoring they would need in the top of the second inning. With two out, sophomore shortstop Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou) singled to third base. Rookie rightfielder Amidori Anderson (Sparks, Nev./Spanish Spring) followed with another grounder to the hot corner, but a throw to second to force Fujita sailed into the outfield, allowing her to score all the way from first on the play.

Junior pitcher Scottie Todd (Tampa, Fla./Strawberry Crest) took over from there, allowing just one batter over the minimum in six innings of work. Todd allowed just three baserunners on two singles and a hit batter. The outstanding Brandeis defense turned two 4-6-3 double plays to erase runners in the first and fifth innings. Todd struck out four and did not walk a batter as she improved to 13-5 with her 13th complete game of the season, but her first shutout of the campaign and the sixth of her career.

Brandeis was able to end the game in inning early by exploding for seven runs on eight hits and two FSC errors in the top of the sixth. The Judges sent 12 hitters to the plate, with the biggest hits being a two-run double by senior catcher Keri Lehtonen (Oneco, Conn./Plainfield) and a two-run single by Anderson. The Judges also had back-to-back doubles by rookie third baseman Marley Felder (Miami, Fla./American Heritage) and sophomore centerfielder Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) that drove in runs. For Rothenberg, it was her second hit of the frame. Todd retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth to end the Rams' season at 20-17.

In the second contest against Penn State Berks, rookie Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) was just as good as Todd in the circle, tossing a seven-inning complete game. Though she allowed one more hit than Todd, surrendering three, Goldman struck out seven Nittany Lions. She walked just one and threw 67 of her 103 pitches for strikes. Goldman faced just three batters over the minimum as the Judges once again played errorless softball and turned another 4-6-3 twin-killing.

Goldman improved to 14-2 on the season, making her just the eighth pitcher in program history to reach the 14-win plateau in a season. It was her 16th complete game of the season and fourth shutout, tied for third-most in program history for a single season.

The Judges scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Anderson opened the inning with a double to right field. She stole third, and two batters later came home on Felder's ground ball to shortstop. The pitchers' duel continued into the sixth, with neither team getting a runner past first base after Anderson scored.

Brandeis's Rothenberg gave the Judges some breathing room in the bottom of the sixth inning, when she took Berks pitcher Jess Rozick out of the park to left centerfield. It was Rothenberg's second homer of the season and of her career. With the additional insurance run, Goldman was able to retire the side in order in the seventh to push the Judges to Sunday's action, while ending Berks's season at 32-10.

Brandeis will meet regional host Ithaca at noon tomorrow in their third-straight must-win situation. If the Judges can defeat the Bombers in the opener, the teams will meet in a winner-take-all game immediately following.