BROWNSVILLE, Pa. – Saint Augustine’s University ended a fabulous season with a 10-2 loss to Gannon University in an NCAA Atlantic 1 Regional softball elimination game at Lilley Field on the California (Pa.) University campus Saturday, May 9, 2015.
The defeat concluded one of the best softball seasons in Saint Augustine’s University history. The Lady Falcons (22-15 overall) won their first CIAA softball title since 1991 and made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
“This season was a great accomplishment for the team as well as for Saint Augustine’s University,” SAU Head Coach Nikki Bynum Bumpass said. “I am so proud of what our ladies achieved this season. The coaching staff and scholar-athletes have set the foundation for future success in the softball program. What a phenomenal year!”
Coming off an 11-0 loss to top seed California (Pa.) on Friday, May 8, the eighth seed Lady Falcons started strong against fifth seed Gannon in the double-elimination tournament Saturday. They led 2-0 in the top of the first inning when Meranda Zanni (So./Phoenix, OR) singled in Danyelle Noland (Fr./Nashville, NC) and Marley Parker (Fr./Langley, British Columbia) scored Korey Hill (So./Virginia Beach, VA) on a single.
Gannon (29-15 overall) responded with four runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 4-2 lead. The lead expanded to 5-2 in the third inning, and the contest was stopped in the fifth inning due to the eight-run mercy rule after Gannon scored five runs.
Parker went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and Zanni went 1-for-3 with an RBI for the Lady Falcons, who had five hits. Noland went 1-for-3 with one run scored and Hill went 1-for-3 with one run scored. Zanni took the pitching loss.
Rachel deGuia went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored, and Katie Eckelberry went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored for Gannon, who finished with 15 hits. Jess Rectenwald was the winning pitcher.
The Lady Falcons will return all but three players next season including Zanni, the CIAA Tournament MVP and All-CIAA First Team Pitcher. Parker, the CIAA Rookie of the Year, will be back as well as All-CIAA Tournament selection Jasmine Rios (Fr./Greensboro, NC).
The Lady Falcons will miss their three seniors, however. Hannah Stutts (Sr./Statesville, NC) was one of the CIAA top pitchers who earned All-CIAA First Team and All-CIAA Tournament honors as a designated player. Taylor Walters (Sr./Douglasville, GA) was a consistent first baseman who was among the national Division II leaders in triples as a junior, and Jo’Landa White (Sr./Leland, NC) was a talented catcher who hit 28 career home runs, the most in recent memory at Saint Augustine’s University.