KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) softball team (3-1) started its trip to the Spring Games with two huge victories on Friday. The Rams took down last year's national runner-up, Saint Anselm, 2-1 and earned a 7-6 win in eight innings over St. Thomas Aquinas.
GAME ONE – W, 2-1 vs. Saint Anselm
The Rams fell behind early as the Hawks pushed a run across in the opening frame. Jefferson got the first three runners aboard in its half of the second but Saint Anselm recovered to strike out the next three Rams to end the inning.
After getting one baserunner each in the third and fourth, the Rams broke through in the fifth. Freshman Winnai Hoyt singled with one out and advanced to second on an error. Junior Breck Urban plated Hoyt with a base hit to center and went to second on the throw. Junior Madison Heno followed with an RBI double to put Jefferson on top.
Meanwhile, senior Naomi Stas frustrated the Hawks' hitters and picked up her first win of the season. After allowing one run and three hits in the first, she settled in and conceded just two hits for the rest of the contest, both of which came in the seventh. Saint Anselm had just two baserunners from the second through the sixth. The Hawks had the tying run in scoring position with one out in the final frame but Stas retired the next two batters to finish off the victory.
GAME TWO – W, 7-6 (8 inn.) vs. St. Thomas Aquinas
Jefferson got on the board first with a run in the second. Stas led off with a single and came around to score on a base hit by sophomore LilyAnn Yoakum. The Spartans briefly took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third but the Rams pushed three across in the bottom of the frame. Stas drove in two runs with a hit before scoring on a fielder's choice.
Each team tallied a run in the fifth. St. Thomas Aquinas benefitted from a home run and senior Stephanie Pepper doubled in Stas. Jefferson increased its lead to 6-3 in the sixth when Heno touched the plate on a groundout.
The Spartans fought back and tied the game in the seventh on a two-run double and an RBI single. In the eighth, Pepper struck out the side to give the Rams a chance to walk off in the bottom of the inning. Heno was placed on second to start the frame. On a pop-up, the Spartans' catcher tried to catch Heno leaning off the bag but the throw was high into center field, allowing Heno to come home with the winning run.
Jefferson Softball continues its trip with games versus Bridgeport and St. Cloud St. on Saturday, March 9.