PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Senior Nicole Loewenstein (Joppa, Md.) delivered the game-winning base hit in the 11th inning to lift the Seton Hall softball team to a 4-3 victory over Villanova in the second game of a doubleheader. The Pirates (21-31, 3-18) were edged in the opener, 2-0.
With two outs in the top of the 11th, Laura Canulli (Naperville, Ill.) recorded a single to right field and stole second base leading to the single by Loewenstein.
Villanova refused to go quietly in the bottom of the frame, putting the leadoff batter on via single. On a sacrifice try, the Pirates got the runner at first, but Ali Lowe got greedy and tried to move another base. The throw to third was off the mark, and Meredith Henze (Elkton, Md.) came up with the loose ball and rang out Lowe trying to score. Freshman Danielle DeStaso (Congers, N.Y.) got the next batter to line out to preserve the win.
DeStaso earned the victory to earn her sixth win of the season. She pitched the final three innings, allowing just two hits and added a strikeout.
Seton Hall's bats came to life in the first inning of game two as they loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the contest. DeStaso opened the scoring with a single to right to score Brittany Hammer (Manheim, Pa.), and Maria DeLuca (Cedar Grove, N.J.) came around on the play after an error by the rightfielder.
However, the Wildcats drew even in their first turn at bats. Amanda Marquez singled to kick things off, and Jamie O'Hara hit a ball down the leftfield line that ended up being an inside the park home run to tie the game, 2-2.
A leadoff bunt single by Canulli and a double by Kirby Groves (Yardley, Pa.) put runners on the corners with one out for Sara Haefeli (Montclair, N.J.). Haefeli lifted a fly ball deep enough to left field to put the Pirates back on top, 3-2.
Villanova came back in the bottom of the fifth, putting runners on first and third with no outs in the inning. The Wildcats attempted a double-steal, and SHU decided to go for the out at second, leading to the tying run crossing the plate.
Seton Hall worked out of bases loaded jams in the seventh and eighth innings, keeping the game alive long enough for Loewenstein's heroics.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in game one, capitalizing on back-to-back doubles by Valerie Ortega and Molly Manning with two outs in the first inning.
Kristi Burlin doubled the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer, and that would be all Villanova would need.
DeStaso took the loss (6-14) after allowing two runs in three innings. Junior Brooke Tull (Greenwood, Del.) pitched the final three innings, allowing just one hit to continue her strong stretch of play.
The rubber game of the series will take place tomorrow at noon.