Redshirt junior Jessica Roper delivered a walk-off double in game one and scored three times in game two, as the Cumberland softball squad won a pair of games, 3-2 and 13-3, over St. Catharine on Tuesday at the CU softball field.
Facing a tie ball game headed to the bottom of the seventh inning, senior Shawnee Kirk delivered a one-out infield single, and Roper followed with a double to the left-center field gap to plate the run and hand Cumberland the walk-off, 3-2, victory in game one.
After CU (32-17-1, 18-14 Mid-South) starter Courtney Maynard struck out the side to open the game, Cumberland jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first but left the bases loaded with one out in the inning. Maynard earned the victory in the complete-game, moving to 17-9 on the season.
Senior Devon Jamerson opened the frame with a leadoff double and Roper was hit by a pitch. Following a fielder’s choice which loaded the bases after Roper beat the throw to second, junior Sydney Broderick plated the first run of the game with an RBI single.
St. Catharine (14-25, 10-20) starter Krystal Cammuse worked out of the one-out jam with a strikeout and foul out to bring the threat and the first inning to a close.
Cumberland used a two-out rally in the third to put another run on the board, culminating in an RBI single from junior Kaleigh Pearce. Nicholson began the rally with an infield single and moved all the way to third on a pair of wild pitches. After a walk to Broderick, Pearce delivered a seeing-eye single to the outfield and CU led, 2-0.
The score remained as such until the top of the fifth, when the Patriots struck for a pair of unearned runs to tie the contest. The inning began with back-to-back singles before an error and an error loaded the bases with no outs.
Maynard worked a strikeout to earn the first out of the frame, but Taylor Steff earned the first RBI with a groundout to second base. The second run scampered home on a wild pitch from the senior pitcher. A scoreless sixth and top of the seventh set up the late-game heroics from Roper.
It took Cumberland no time at all to jump ahead in game two, plating three runs in the first. Jamerson led off the inning with a walk and Kirk was hit by a pitch, before being replaced by freshman Katelyn Nowakowski.
Roper plated the first run with an RBI single, Nicholson brought one home with a groundout and Broderick tacked on a sac fly to left field as Jamerson, Nowakowski and Roper scored in that order.
Cumberland broke the game with a five-spot in the second, taking advantage of two errors in the inning which made all five runs unearned. Nowakowski reached via error with one away in the inning before Roper grounded into a fielder’s choice which should have been the end of the inning.
Nicholson followed with her 12th home run of the season, an opposite field shot that cleared the right-center field fence. Broderick and Pearce added back-to-back singles and freshman Tessa Tomaselli launched a double to right center to score one.
Another runner scored when Sarah Murray reached on an error and Katelynn Stoll brought home the final run of the inning with an RBI single to plate Tomaselli. When the dust settled, CU led, 8-0, after two innings.
Nicholson did it again one inning later, launching a two-strike pitch to over the center field wall, scoring Roper and giving the Bulldogs a 10-0 advantage with her 13th homer of the season. Another error in the inning brought Pearce home, pushing the score to 11-0 after three.
Meanwhile, Cumberland starting pitcher Jessica Lozano was putting together one of her top performances of the season, allowing just two hits while striking out seven during the first three innings. Between the final out of the first and third innings, the Wilmington, Calif., native struck out six of the eight batters she faced.
The senior recorded the first two outs of the fourth, including one more strikeout, but an error was followed by a two-run home run from Brittany McKee to end the clean sheet with a pair of unearned runs.
Senior Caroline Curran was brought on to pitch following the homer and put a close to the fourth with a strikeout of her own versus the lone batter she faced in the frame. The Bradenton, Calif., native closed out the game, pitching the final 1.1 innings.
The Bulldogs picked up two more runs in the fourth to make it 13-2 and St. Catharine added a run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth, but it was not enough as CU earned the 13-3, run-rule victory.
Cumberland will return to action at the CU softball field for a Mid-South doubleheader versus Shawnee State on Friday. The Bulldogs will close the season with a twin bill against Rio Grande on Saturday. First pitch Friday is set for 2 p.m.