April 4, 2013

Zampino Belts Walk-Off Homer; Diplomats Sweep

LANCASTER, Pa. - Down 8-6 in the bottom of the seventh, Kaitlin Zampino blasted a three-run walk-off homer to left center field to cap off a four-run inning and give the Franklin & Marshall softball team a thrilling 9-8 comeback victory against York on Thursday afternoon. The Diplomats (8-14) carried over the momentum into the second contest of the day, finishing off the sweep of the Spartans (4-20) with an 11-3 win.

F&M led 5-4 in the sixth before York exploded for four runs in the seventh to take the 8-5 advantage. Clinging to life in the bottom of the frame, the Diplomats kicked off the inning with a Nicole Casey double up the middle.

An error from the Spartans' infield allowed Malorie Sassaman to reach first and sent Casey home from third to pull F&M within a pair at 8-6. Ashley Hartshorn stepped into the box and lined a single to left field, advancing Sassaman to second and allowing the game-winning run to come to the plate. Zampino finished the job with her first home run of the season to give the Diplomats the one-run victory.

Hartshorn reached base three times in the contest off of two singles and a walk in a 2-for-2 effort. Five F&M batters recorded multiple hits, as the Diplomats combined for 11 on the afternoon.

Zampino started the game, going 5.1 innings and giving up four earned. The junior right hander struck out four batters and was relieved by Justine Lohrey (4-6) in the sixth, who picked up the win after pitching the final 1.2 frames of contest.

In game two, York took the early 2-0 lead in the top of the first before F&M scored one in the bottom of the inning and two in the second to take the 3-2 lead.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth when Patricia Crigler and Sassaman slammed back-to-back home runs to left center field to put the Diplomats up 5-2.

For Crigler, a freshman, and Sassaman, a junior, the round trippers were the first of their careers and provided F&M with a pair of late-inning insurance runs.

Sara Thacker of the Spartans answered with a homer of her own in the sixth to cut the Diplomats lead down to two. However, a six-run, six-hit inning in the bottom of the sixth put F&M up by eight and sealed the game. Hartshorn smacked a two RBI single to right field to score Casey from third and Sam DeNoville from second to force the mercy rule.

Sassaman went 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring three runs and picking up an RBI on the afternoon. Caitlin Brust went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and Crigler batted a perfect 2-for-2 with a game-high three RBIs. Eight Diplomats recorded a hit as F&M combined for 14.

Zampino (4-8) earned the win on the mound after allowing three earned in six innings and striking out six batters.

The Diplomats return to the field on Saturday to take on Swarthmore in Centennial Conference (CC) action. Game one of the double header is slated for a 1:00 p.m. start.