Softball: Warriors Trade Walk-Off Wins on Wild Opening Day of Season in Florida

On the first day of her collegiate career, freshman Morgan Bolduk allowed only nine hits in nine innings and three earned runs in two appearances, and had five hits and scored three runs with an RBI in nine at-bats.
On the first day of her collegiate career, freshman Morgan Bolduk allowed only nine hits in nine innings and three earned runs in two appearances, and had five hits and scored three runs with an RBI in nine at-bats.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Eastern Connecticut State University softball team came from behind in each of the final three innings after allowing the tying run in the seventh inning in an 8-7, 10-inning victory over Webster University Sunday evening at the Osceola County Softball Complex.

Eastern (1-1) tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the eighth on sophomore Crysta Wolski's (West Hartford) two-run bouncer through the right side, evened it again in the ninth on sophomore Haleigh Cardello's (Litchfield, NH) line drove single to right, and won it in the tenth on a tying single by freshman winning pitcher Morgan Bolduk (Vernon) and walk-off double by freshman Alexis Tyrrell (Torrington).

Bolduk (1-1) pitched six shutout innings in her first career start earlier in the day against Marietta College (1-4) but the Pioneers walked off with a 4-2 victory on freshman Jordan's Pallay's one-out game-ending grand slam inside the right field foul pole in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bolduk carried a three-hitter into the seventh but surrendered three straight singles – the second one a line drive off her glove which her second baseman could handle – before Pallay looped an opposite-field 1-0 pitch over the 200 foot sign down the right field line. Bolduk threw 56 of her 87 pitches for strikes against the Pioneers, with 31 of her first 45 through four innings strikes.

Against Webster (4-6), sophomore lefty pitcher Jacky Arndt (Chelmsford, MA) -- who did not pitch in the fall due to an arm problem -- allowed only three hits and one earned run in 6 1/3 innings of relief before giving way to Bolduk as the Gorloks took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the top of the eighth. Bolduk earned her first collegiate win by limiting Webster to two unearned runs on three hits over the final 2 2/3 innings.

Against Webster, Bolduk reached four times with three singles and a walk, with Arndt, Tyrrell, sophomore Sara Pisanelli (Wallingford) and freshman Kamdynn Moroney (Sandy Hook) each contributing two hits in Eastern's 17-hit attack.

In the loss to Marietta, Bolduk, Wolski and Pisanelli -- batting 1-2-3 in the order –each had two hits, as did sophomore Jackie Lewis (Mystic) with Bolduk and Wolski driving in runs with doubles. Between the two teams, all but four starters were either freshmen or sophomores.

The contest against Marietta was on a record pace until Marietta's seventh-inning rally pushed the final time to a still quick 1 hour and 32 minutes. Until the bottom of the seventh, Bolduc and Marietta freshman Jackie Mulvain had combined for only 12 hits allowed, two strikeouts and one walk. Bolduc gave up only three hits without a walk through six innings of her ultimate seven-hitter and had retired 13 of 14 before allowing a one-out single in the seventh when the Pioneers rallied for their first win of the season.

Just 21 minutes after the crushing loss to Marietta, Eastern was back on the field against Webster in a contest which did not end until 9:11 p.m. after 2 hours and 40 minutes. Pisanelli's two-out RBI double to center snapped a 2-2 tie in the second inning against Webster, and Arndt protected that lead until Webster pushed across an unearned tying run in the top of the seventh on a leadoff error, sacrifice bunt and No. 3 hitter Tessa Johanning's RBI single through the box. The Warriors, however, emerged from the inning with the score still tied when sophomore catcher Megan Hodgdon (Cheshire) unleashed a perfect throw from her knees on a ball in the dirt to Tyrrell at third to nail a potential base stealer for the second out of the inning, and Arndt got cleanup hitter Abby Burroughs on a ground ball to Tyrrell to end the inning.

The victory moves 17th-year head coach Diana Pepin to within one of 400 in her career. She is the winningest coach in program history (399-243-2).

Monday at Kissimmee, Eastern faces Wisconsin Lutheran College at 11:15 a.m. and SUNY Plattsburgh at 1:30 p.m.