Bridgeport, Conn. - A two-out double down the left field line by junior Allison Luzzi (East Haven, Conn.) scored classmate Abbigail Blanchard (Pawcatuck, Conn.) from first base with game-winning run, as the second-seeded University of Bridgeport Purple Knights topped the third-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas College Spartans, 6-5, in an 11-inning marathon to open the 2019 East Coast Conference Softball Championship Tournament. With the win, Bridgeport is now 31-14 overall; while St. Thomas is now 24-20 overall with the loss.
UB will now face LIU Post at 10:00 a.m. on Friday in a winner's bracket game in the double elimination championship, and STAC will take on NYIT at 12:30 p.m. in an elimination game on Friday. The remainder of the 2019 East Coast Conference Softball Championship Tournament will be play at LIU Post in Brookville, New York.
Luzzi's heroics on Wednesday were set up by a two-out single by pinch hitter Ashley Eisnor (Medford, Mass.), who was batting for Blanchard, who re-entered the game after Eisnor reached first.
The Spartans got off to a fast start in the game plating three runs in the top of the first inning on a Bridgeport error and a two-RBI double by Melissa Sadler.
Bridgeport responed with one run in the bottom of the first on a double by senior Jenna DiLorenzo (Woodbridge, Conn.), who would also blast a solo home run in the game to finish with a pair of RBI for the winners. The Purple Knights would score one in the fourth, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth to grab a 5-3 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
The visiting Spartans did not go quietly, as the tied the game at 5-5 on a ringing double by Briana Keaveney that scored two teammates.
UB had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh but STAC centerfielder Melissa Sadler gunned down the potential winning at the plate to complete a double play to end the inning, and the game would stay at 5-5 until Luzzi's game-winning double in inning number eleven.
Both starting pitchers went the distance on Wednesday, as Bridgeport's Amanda Staheli (Grad. Student, Pecatonica, Ill.) raised her season record to 17-5 allowing eight hits with three strikeouts and four walks over her 11 innings in the circle.
Colleen Borum was the hard-luck loser allowing only four earned runs over her 10.2 innings of work.
Provided by the Bridgeport Sports Information Department.