by DSU Athletic Media Relations
March 21, 2014, Dover, Del. (ISN) – Playing at its home field for the first time this season, Delaware State softball team (12-6) swept the Central Connecticut State Blue Devils (9-8) Friday afternoon with a pair of 2-1 and 4-1 victories in the opening day of the Sean Savage Epilepsy Awareness Memorial Tournament.
In game one, DSU took an early 1-0 lead in the first by way of a Tara Tursellino RBI-single to bring in outfielder Nicole Gazzola all the way from first. Two innings later, same score, outfielder Jessica Madrid stole home to give her squad 2-0 advantage.
However, the Blue Devils made things interesting when runners advanced to second and third after a wild pitch by starter Vanessa Ciocatto (5-3) with shortstop Eileen Purcell at the plate. Later in the at-bat, Purcell grounded out to short, but not before outfielder Evie Rentzel scored from third to cut the deficit in half.
Nevertheless, Ciocatto got out of the jam by fanning Sarah Drazin for a second time to keep Delaware State ahead by one.
In the seventh, after head coach Janice Savage inserted Tursellino (2) in the circle for Ciocatto, things got off to a to rocky start for DSU with a Kenya McVey leadoff single up the middle, followed by catcher Hannah Cooper laying down a sacrifice bunt to move the tying run to second.
Fortunately, Delaware State’s defense held steady as outfielder Brittany Ernst went down swinging and infielder Arielle Bruno popped up to second to end the game.
Offensively, the Blue Devils tallied seven hits, compared to Delaware State’s five, but it was the Hornets’ defense and pitching that spearheaded the win. Ciocatto, who started her 12th game of the season, allowed six hits, one walk and tallied a game-high six strikeouts.
In game two, Delaware State’s offense got off to a fast start to load the bases with three consecutive singles in the first. As a result, Tursellino capitalized with a single of her own to bring in infielder Chloe Oro, giving the Hornets a 1-0 early advantage.
The Hornets later extended their lead to four in the next two frames with Oro driving in freshman Danielle Velez from third with a single in the second, followed by catcher Sandy Hawthorne scoring with the bases loaded in the third after a CCSU error and outfielder Morgan Hobbs RBI-singling up the middle to bring in outfielder Rochelle Sablay.
The Blue Devils, on the other hand, managed to get on the board in the sixth when designated player Tessa Brown drove in outfielder Kat Malcolm with a sacrifice fly, who tripled to lead off the inning.
But, CCSU did not have enough in the tank as it was shut out the rest of the way by Tursellino and the Hornets defense.
For the game, Delaware State recorded 12 hits with 10 coming off starter Julie Marks (0-3), who lasted through two innings while allowing three earned runs and one walk. Leading the way at the plate for the Hornets, meanwhile, was Oro and Hawthorne both going 2-for-4. Additionally, Velez went 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
Pitching wise, Tursellino (6-2) wrapped up her solid all-around day allowing six hits, one walk and totaling two strikeouts. Offensively, she went 1-for-4 with an RBI.
Coming up, the Columbia Blue & Red will take on Mount St. Mary’s tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. As for CCSU, it will face Cornell at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.