Rockville Centre, N.Y. – The second-seeded Molloy softball team claimed a 2-1 victory over the seventh-seeded Bears of New York Institute of Technology to advance to the winner's bracket of the NCAA Division II East 2 Regional Tournament.
The Lions (33-16) scored both runs in the bottom of the first inning. Junior Olivia Banulski (Bristol, Conn.) led things off for the maroon and white with a first-pitch single through the left side. Senior Erin Clinton (Long Beach, Calif.) reached on an error by the NYIT second baseman before both runners advanced into scoring position on a bunt single from graduate student Milan Botte (San Diego, Calif.). Molloy got on the board following a sacrifice fly from junior Brianna Dalton (Northampton, Pa.) before Clinton came home on a double steal to double the lead.
The score would stand through five innings. The Bears rallied in the top of the sixth, as juniors Jessica Daniel (Lake Forest, Calif.) and Kaitlyn Lanksbury (Huntington Beach, Calif.) each singled off of sophomore Jenna Turato (Garden City South, N.Y.). Senior Chelsea Hawks (Wading River, N.Y.) came in to face senior Madison Smith (Tustin, Calif.), who singled in Daniel to cut the Molloy lead to one run. The pitcher then struck out senior Tiffany McCracken (Murrieta, Calif.) before forcing a fly out from junior Christine Olivas (Chandler, Ariz.) to get out of the jam. Hawks picked up two more strikeouts in the top of the seventh to secure the 2-1 victory for the maroon and white.
Botte went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a stolen base while Dalton picked up the lone RBI for the Lions. Turato improved to 16-4 on the season, pitching 5.1 innings and surrendering five hits. Hawks became the single-season saves leader, earning her fourth of the year in 1.2 innings of work.
Molloy will take on No. 3 Caldwell University for the chance to advance to the Championship game tomorrow (May 12) at 11:00 a.m.
Provided by the Molloy Sports Information Department.