Jessica Stangarone's eighth-inning triple to right field scored Jenn Marro with the winning run as Ithaca knocked off William Paterson 1-0 in the final opening-round game of the 2005 NCAA Division III Softball Championship in Raleigh, N.C. The game was pushed to Saturday morning after heavy rains forced the postponement of Friday night's scheduled start.
"We won the first one. It was a fun game to compete in," Ithaca head coach Deb Pallozzi said. "That's the kind of stuff we've been doing all year long, and the kids came through. It was awesome."
Marro started off the frame with a walk, and she advanced to second on Hannah Shalett's sacrifice bunt. Stangarone then capped her 2-for-4 day at the plate with the shot to right field that plated Marro to end the contest. Both teams put runners in scoring position numerous times only to have the respective pitchers work out of the jams.
"I got behind right off the bat, so I was basically looking to protect the plate - foul anything off," Stangarone said. "I just found the perfect pitch to drive."
Carly Myers picked up the win for the Bombers (31-12) as she went the full eight innings, giving up seven hits in the shutout performance. Jenn Scott suffered the loss for William Paterson (37-11-1) as she allowed a run on one hit in one and a third innings of relief work of Diane Schraer, who allowed just five hits over six innings.
Neither team was able to get much offensive help. The two squads combined for 13 hits, but William Paterson left 13 runners on base while Ithaca stranded six.
Ithaca had the opportunity to win the game in the seventh when Kaitlyn Dulac led off the frame with a double. Stacy Pelesz then moved pinch runner Amanda Kowalsick over to third with a sacrifice bunt, but Scott entered the game for the Pioneers and got Erica Cutspec to ground out to the pitcher and Amanda Illinger to pop out to shortstop to end the threat.
"I thought it was a great game on both teams' parts," William Paterson head coach Hallie Cohen said. "They got it done with runners in scoring position. The difference was one big hit, and I think it was well played by both teams."
William Paterson answered in the top of the eighth as singles by Nicole French and Brandi Kavaliauskas and a walk by Danielle Patlen loaded the bases with two outs for Louisville Slugger/NFCA First Team All-American Liz Sisca. Myers got her to foul out to the catcher to set the stage for Stangarone's heroics.
"We've put Carly in those types of games all season," Pallozzi said. "We put people on and load the bases up. That's the stuff she's shown all year long. She's a real competitor. When she settles in, it doesn't matter how many are on because she just really focuses on the job at hand."