GW Softball Falls to Massachusetts, 3-2, in Atlantic 10 Title Game
Minutewomen Win on Walk-Off Home Run in Seventh
May 12, 2012
ST. LOUIS - The No. 4 George Washington softball team lost a heartbreaker in the Atlantic 10 championship game, falling to top-seeded Massachusetts, 3-2, on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Minutewomen scored single runs in the first and second innings and maintained their 2-0 lead for the next four frames, as A-10 Pitcher of the Year Sara Plourde did not allow a hit through six innings.
With three outs left in GW's season, junior Julie Orlandi struck out to lead off the top of the seventh, but reached base when Plourde's wild pitch got past her catcher to bring up freshman Victoria Valos. Valos, who homered off Plourde two days earlier, crushed a shot over the left field fence for her third home run of the tournament and school-record 11th home run of the season to tie the game at 2-2.
Senior Heidi Penna, who had not allowed a hit since the fourth inning, easily retired the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh on a groundout and a fly ball, but UMass second baseman Kyllie Magill lined an 0-1 pitch over the right field fence to give the Minutewomen a 3-2 win and their 23rd A-10 title.
Penna (7-3) allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks in 6.2 innings of work. Plourde (36-9) earned her fourth win over the Colonials this season after striking out 11 and allowing just one hit and two walks.
Following the game Valos, Penna and senior Kara Clauss were named to the All-Tournament Team. Valos batted a team-best .368 (7-for-19) with two doubles, three homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. Penna and Clauss were both outstanding in the circle. Penna went 2-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 20.0 innings of work, while Clauss was 1-1 with two saves and a 0.68 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched, including a 14-inning complete game victory over Fordham in Friday evening's semifinal.
GW concludes its season 25-30 overall, breaking the program record for wins in a season. After being picked to finish eighth in the A-10 preseason poll and starting the season 9-23, the Colonials won 16 of their final 23 games to earn the No. 4 seed in the Atlantic 10 Championship and reach the tournament's final game for the first time in program history.
Make no mistake, Sarah Costlow still gets butterflies in her stomach every time she steps in the circle to pitch.
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