FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Franklin & Marshall softball team wrapped up the spring break portion of its schedule on Friday by defeating Rockford 7-6 before dropping a 4-2 contest to Wisconsin-Superior. The Diplomats' record moved to 7-5 on the season, including a 7-3 mark at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.
Against Rockford (2-8), F&M wasted no time and scored in the first inning when Malorie Sassaman singled through the right side to score Alicia Kukoda to give the Diplomats a 1-0 lead. Next, with Patricia Krigler batting, Caroline Abin scored on a passed ball to put F&M ahead 2-0.
After starting pitcher Megan Ryan held the Regents scoreless in the top of the second, she ripped a triple to center field in the bottom of the inning. During Liz Middleton's at-bat, Ryan scored on a wild pitch to put the Diplomats ahead 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, F&M scored for the third inning in a row when Crigler hit a double to center field to score Ashley Hartshorn, who pinch ran for Kaitlin Zampino, to give the Diplomats a 4-0 advantage.
F&M ran into trouble in the top of the fourth inning when Stefaney Kenworthy singled up the middle. Next up was Brittany Bura who reached on a fielder's choice to third base, followed by Ali Moore who also reached on a fielder's choice to third to load the bases for Rockford.
Maranda Walker then doubled to right center for the Regents, clearing the bases and bringing Rockford within one run at 4-3. After Mercedes Boykin reached on a fielder's choice and advanced Walker to third, Walker scored on a wild pitch tie the game at 4-4. Later in the inning, Ryan induced a double play as the Diplomats limited the damage.
In the bottom of the fifth, Sassaman reached base off an error by the second basemen, followed by a Sam DeNoville sacrifice bunt. Next up was Zampino who reached on an error by the right fielder that allowed Sassaman to advance to third. Crigler then smacked a double down the left field line to score Sassaman put F&M up 5-4. Rachel Laufer followed with a double to left center to score Zampino and Crigler to put F&M up 7-4.
Rockford pushed two runs across the board in the top of the sixth to make it a 7-6 ballgame, but Zampino, who pitched the last two innings to earn the save, shutdown the Regents in the top of the seventh to preserve the win for Ryan and the Diplomats.
Ryan (2-1) pitched five innings and gave up four runs while striking out three. F&M recorded 11 hits in the contest with Kukoda, Abin, and Crigler each tallying two.
Against Wisconsin-Superior (6-4), F&M scored first in the top of the second after Ryan singled home Zampino, who doubled, to take a 1-0 lead. For the next few innings, each teams' pitcher kept the offenses in check until the top of the sixth.
In the sixth, Kukoda started off the inning for the Diplomats with a single. After Abin reached on a fielder's choice, Sassaman singled to advance Abin to second. Next up to bat was DeNoville who singled to score Abin and increase F&M's lead to 2-0.
In the bottom of the frame, Haley McNeil singled for the Yellowjackets to score Britnee Blake and cut the deficit to 2-1. Next, Sasha Fjeran doubled in two more runs as Wisconsin-Superior took a 3-2 lead. The Yellowjackets would tack on one more to make it a 4-2 game as the Diplomats were unable to mount a comeback in the top of the seventh inning.
Zampino (1-4) pitched well but was charged with the loss. She threw 5 2/3 inning, giving up only two earned runs and struck out five. Sassaman finished with two hits for F&M, while Kukoda, DeNoville, Zampino, and Ryan each recorded one hit.
The Diplomats return to the diamond on March 20 when F&M takes on Lancaster Bible for the first home doubleheader of the season. Game one is set to begin at 3:00 p.m.