LEICESTER, Mass. – Back-to-back bombs in the bottom of the seventh forced free softball where Suffolk took care of business defensively to set-up the walk-off style victory as a one-run single from Ashley Zulla pushed the Rams over Becker, 7-6, in eight frames in the nightcap of a non-league outing at Russel Field.
SCORE: Suffolk 7 | Becker 6
RECORDS: Suffolk (12-10) | Becker (13-11)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Becker broke open the scoring for the first time in as many outings, putting up a pair of runs in the top of the third.
The Rams responded immediately in their next turn at the plate. Caitlin Murphy got herself into prime position with a lead-off triple and two batters later a productive ground out from Jaclyn Flint allowed the rookie centerfielder strut in to trim the margin to one, 2-1.
Suffolk found itself down 5-1 after the Hawks used back-to-back doubles to stretch their advantage back to multiple runs.
It wasn't until the bottom of the fifth when the Rams would make up the ground with a pair of doubles of their own. With Murphy on second after the freshman singled and swiped second, Grace Boehler brought her in on a double to left center. Flint followed Boehler's two-bag hit with one of her own to batters later to trade places with the runners. The blue-and-gold then capitalized on a Hawks' error to pull within on for the second time on the day, 5-4.
Flint took care of business in the opening of the sixth to keep Suffolk within striking distance. With two dead and runners on second and third, Zulla singled to center to bring in the tying run. On the same play, Boehler tagged third and went in to score the go-ahead run, but was caught at the plate for the final out of the frame.
Becker looked to put itself in front and did just that with a two-run homer by pinch hitter Kelsey Weston. The Rams found themselves down once again as the game transitioned to the bottom of the seventh. After hitting a long foul ball, Flint straightened things out and barreled a bomb over the right center fence to make it a one-run game for the third time of the outing. Kelly Keane matched Flint's dinger with one of her own, her first in a blue-and-gold jersey, to equalize the contest at 7-all. The extra-base hit excitement would not be enough for Suffolk, who stranded the game-winning run on the bags to force the extra session.
With the international tie-break in play, Becker placed Lauren Niemannon second. She stayed there until Alyssa Columb knocked a single to move her over, but the Rams' backed up Flint in the circle to keep the Hawks off the scoreboard.
Suffolk, meanwhile, used small ball to move the base runner, Hailey Cockroft to third. A walk and stolen base sent later sent Zulla to the plate. The junior catcher knocked a long ball to right center easily allowing Cockroft to come in and win the game for the Rams.
- Flint picked up the win after a complete-game, 8.0-inning, seven-run, 10-hit, three-walk, four-strikeout performance.
- Samantha Balenchia went the full 8.0 frames for the Hawks and suffered the setback after giving up eight runs, five earned, on 13 hits and three walks.
- Flint's pitching carried over to her plate performance as the senior tallied a 3-for-4 effort, which included one double and one home run for three RBI and two runs scored.
- Murphy's two-hit day including one double and two runs.
- Boehler registered two hits, including one double, one RBI and one run scored.
- Zulla notched two hits and two RBI.
- Suffolk moved to 6-1 all-time versus Becker.
- The Hawks and Rams needed extra time to decide a winner for the first time in the all-time series.
- Suffolk played in its first extra-inning game of the season and first since taking down Emmanuel, 4-3, in the do-or-die, GNAC semifinal contest versus Emmanuel May 6, 2018.
- The Rams walked off for the third time this season.
- Flint threw her first complete-game of the season.
- Flint remains perfect in the circle in her collegiate career, improving to 8-0 all-time.
- Flint knocked her first jack of the season.
- Flint matched a career-high four Ks.
- Keane barreled the first dinger of her collegiate career.
Suffolk transitions back to conference contests Saturday, April 13 when it welcomes Norwich to East Boston Memorial Park for a twinbill, which is set to begin at 12 p.m.