Ashcraft’s walk-off single leads Juniata softball to split versus Drew
HUNTINGDON, Pa. – Juniata College junior Jen Ashcraft (Bellefonte, Pa./State College Area) celebrated her 21st birthday with an eighth-inning walk-off single to lift the Eagles to a 4-3 win over Drew University, in game one of the teams' Landmark Conference softball doubleheader Saturday at Weaver Park Field.
The Eagles dropped game two of the twinbill, 12-0, in five innings.
Steph Frith (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove) drew a walk to leadoff the bottom of the eighth inning for Juniata (8-12, 1-3 Landmark), and advanced to second on Ali Vogatsky's (Johnstown, Pa./Central Cambria) sacrifice bunt to third.
Two batters later, Ashcraft lined shot into center field, allowing Frith to score from second.
The two teams exchanged runs in the first inning, with Drew's run coming home on Jeramie Barletta's RBI double to center field and Juniata responding in the bottom of the frame with Rachel Smith (Martinsburg, Pa.) doubled home Erin Francis (Parkton, Md./Hereford). Juniata took the lead with a single run in the third when Smith got aboard with a leadoff double, and cross on Frith's fielder's choice grounder to second.
Drew knotted the game at 2-2 with one run in the top of the fifth, and took the lead in the sixth when Jenn Mateo reached on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to force in Rebecca Hutsebaut.
Juniata tied the game with one run in the bottom of the seventh. Francis opened the inning with a leadoff single, eventually scoring on Meghan Decker's (Waynesboro, Pa./Waynesboro) single down the left field line. The Eagles then held the Rangers scoreless in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for Ashcraft's heroics.
Kelsea Decker (Waynesboro, Pa./Waynesboro) scattered eight hits on her way to the win, allowing just one earned with five strikeouts. Drew starter Casey Reggiani allowed all four earned runs on 13 hits, striking out six Eagle batters.
In game two, Drew scored two runs in the each of the first two innings followed by a seven-run explosion in the third inning. Ranger starting pitcher Laura D'Ornellas helped her own cause with a solo home run with two outs in the third, right on the heels of a two-run blast by Amy Benedict.
Smith allowed 10 earned runs on 15 hits in the loss, while D'Ornellas held the Eagles to three hits with four strikeouts.
Juniata is idle mid-week, but will return to action on Saturday, April 7, when it heads to Scranton, Pa., to face the University of Scranton.