The Alfred State softball team opened up the season with a walk-off victory and split day one of action at the Gene Cusic Classic in Ft. Myers, FL. The Pioneers rallied from a 2-0 deficit and won 3-2 over the University of St. Joseph (CT) in the opener but fell 12-4 to Martin Luther (WI) in the nightcap.
In the opener, St. Joseph scored their lone runs of the game in the 3rd inning when McKenna Driscoll collected a two-out, two-RBI single to right field. The game remained 2-0 until the 6th inning when Marissa Varela (Egg Harbor Twp, NJ) and Ashley Peterson (Valley Central) connected on back-to back RBI singles.
Brittany Fisher (Indianapolis, IN) kept the game 2-2 with a scoreless 7th setting up the walk-off opportunity for the Pioneers. Angela Martone (Candor) drew a leadoff walk and went to second when Morgan Franklin (Wellsville) was hit by a pitch. After a pitching change, Jamie Parente (Mount Sinai) reached on an infield bunt to load the bases. The second pitch to Fisher went over the catchers head allowing Martone to score the winning run.
Fisher earned her first collegiate victory on the mound with a complete game effort. She allowed six hits, walked one, and struck out four without allowing an earned run.
The Pioneers came out fast in the nightcap as they collected two runs on three hits. Franklin led off the game with a single and went to second after a sac bunt by Parente. Fisher followed with a single and a stolen base to set up Varela who connected on a two run single to center to give the blue & gold the early lead.
The Knights answered back in the bottom of the inning with four runs on three hits to take the lead. They added another run in the 4th to make it 5-2 before Alfred State cut into the lead again. Brianna Dittman (Brooklyn/James Madison) singled and went to second on a single by Parente. After a groundout moved the runners up a base, Varela collected her third RBI hit of the day. He line drive single off the pitchers glove cut the lead to 5-4.
Martin Luther didn't let the Pioneers get any closer. They responded with five runs in the bottom of the 5th and ended the game with a pair of runs in the 6th.
Varela led the Pioneers seven hit attack with a 3 for 3, 4 RBI day.
The Pioneers head to Naples, FL for day two of Gene Cusic Classic on Sunday for a 9 a.m. contest with Curry College and a 11 a.m. battle with Kenyon.