SWARTHMORE, Pa. - The Franklin & Marshall softball team fell to Swarthmore 4-3 on Saturday afternoon in Centennial Conference (CC) action before a Julianne Whitleigh single in the top of the eighth of game two sent the winning run across the plate for a 7-6 victory. The Diplomats moved to 9-15 (3-5 CC) on the year while the Garnet's record now sits at 14-10 (2-6 CC).
In game one of the doubleheader, F&M fell behind early when Swarthmore rattled off a three-run bottom of the second to take the 3-0 edge. The Diplomats were held off the board until the top of the fifth when Sam DeNoville singled to center field with two outs to score Malorie Sassaman from second and pull F&M within two at 3-1.
DeNoville continued her strong play at the plate in the top of the seventh by picking up her second hit of the day, a single to center field, to score Danielle Murphy from second and Sarah Kirk from third to knot the contest at 3-3.
However, Swarthmore answered in the bottom of the inning by sending the winning run across the plate on an error by the Diplomat's infield with the bases loaded to hand F&M the heartbreaking defeat.
DeNoville was solid hitting in the three-hole for F&M, knocking in three runs and not stranding a runner on base during the afternoon. The junior infielder finished the contest with a 2-for-3 effort, reaching base three times off a pair of singles and a walk.
Starting pitcher Kaitlin Zampino (4-9) was charged with the loss but provided a strong outing on the mound for the Diplomats by striking out three batters and not allowing an earned run in 6.1 innings of play. The junior right hander kept F&M in the contest by holding the Garnet scoreless from the third through the sixth innings, at one point retiring 10 straight batters.
In the second contest, Swarthmore grabbed an early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first, before a sacrifice fly from Murphy sent Ashley Hartshorn home from third and tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the second.
The score held until the bottom of the fourth when the Garnet pulled ahead 2-1. With one out in the top of the fifth and runners on first and second, Whitleigh launched her third home run of the season to score DeNoville and Kirk, giving the Diplomats a 4-2 advantage.
Swarthmore answered again in the bottom of the frame, responding with two runs on three hits to again tie the contest at 4-4. The Garnet tacked on two more in the sixth to pull ahead 6-4 and once again force F&M to attempt a comeback, this time with only three outs at its disposal.
The Diplomats wasted little time in the seventh as DeNoville sent F&M's second home run of the day out of the park. Her solo shot to left center cut the score to one and kept hope alive for the Diplomats.
Whitleigh followed with a double down the left field line before a Caitlin Brust single with two outs advanced Rachel Laufer, who pinch ran for Whitleigh, to third. Patricia Crigler stepped to the plate and singled to left field scoring Laufer and tying the game at 6-6.
Swarthmore threatened in the bottom of the frame with a lead-off single but were then retired in order by pitcher Justine Lohrey to send the contest into extras.
In the eighth, Sassman led off with a double to left center before a sacrifice bunt from Nicole Casey moved her to third. With one out, Whitleigh stepped into the box and laced a single through the left side scoring Sassaman and giving F&M the one-run lead.
Lohrey picked up two quick outs in the bottom of the frame before retiring the Garnet with a strike out to end the game with runners on first and second.
Whitleigh paced the offense with four RBIs and a 3-for-5 line at the plate. DeNoville also picked up three of the Diplomats' 16 hits, going 3-for-4 on the afternoon.
Zampino started the contest by pitching five innings and allowing only two earned before being relieved by Lohrey (5-6) in the sixth. The sophomore right hander earned the win after closing out the game with two earned runs over the span of three frames.
F&M returns to the field on Tuesday for a doubleheader against Penn. State-Abington at 3:00 p.m.