Potsdam picks up another road victory as Johnson slows down Clarkson
The SUNY Potsdam softball team picked up another road victory on the season by stopping Clarkson University in their tracks 2-1 behind the strong pitching performance of Megan Johnson (Heuvelton, N.Y. / Heuvelton) in game one of a nonconference doubleheader on Clarkson's Scott Field Thursday afternoon.
The game featured a tight pitcher's duel between Johnson and the Golden Knights' Katie Pelton. Each player went the distance, struck out six apiece, walked two each and allowed only a combined seven hits between them.
Johnson has not allowed an earned run in her last three starts spanning 17 innings and, in the process, has dropped her earned run average by more than four runs.
Potsdam scored both of its runs in the top of the fourth inning when senior Molly McCuin (Winthrop, N.Y. / St. Lawrence Central) was hit by a pitch, freshman Kelly Becker (Mahopac, N.Y. / Mahopac) singled and sophomore Katie Marsman (Wantagh, N.Y. / Wantagh) knocked a pinch-hit RBI single that scored McCuin to put the Bears up 1-0.
Two consecutive wild pitches later scored Becker to give the Bears the deciding 2-0 advantage.
Pelton helped her own cause by singling through the right side to plate centerfielder Jamie Bridge in the bottom half of the sixth inning to cut the lead to 2-1. But, that would conclude the scoring for the game as Johnson would get Ali Schwenzfeier to pop out to short and Kat Tamburro to fly out to center to end the threat.
In Clarkson's last opportunity in the seventh, Johnson picked up a strikeout, a pop out and a ground out to finish the complete game. Johnson's six strikeouts marked a single-game season high. Sophomore Alexis Lerman (Fayetteville, N.Y. / Jamesville-Dewitt) batted 1-for-2 with a stolen base for the Bears.
In game two, Potsdam (2-14) battled back from 5-1 and 7-6 deficits before losing in dramatic fashion 8-7 in what was decided in Clarkson's final at bat.
Right fielder Lindsey Walsh knocked in the winning run on a walk-off RBI double that scored Tamburro to give the Golden Knights (1-19) its first victory of the season.
Bridge went the distance for Clarkson, striking out 11 and allowing four earned runs on nine hits.
Sophomore Carina Chirinko (Fairport, N.Y. / Fairport) started for the Bears and worked three and a third innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and struck out two.
Senior catcher Brittney Thivierge (Schuylerville, N.Y. / Schuylerville) gave Potsdam the early lead by knocking in freshman Noelle Rufa (Helena, N.Y. / St. Lawrence Central) in the top of the first on a RBI single. Thivierge would bat 3-for-4 at the dish with two runs scored, a double and a RBI.
Clarkson scored three runs in the third inning and added two more in the fourth on a barrage of singles to take a 5-1 lead.
The Bears answered back with a four-run fifth to tie it 5-5 when Marsman singled in Jordan Ott (Hilton, N.Y. / Hilton), Becker doubled to right to plate Emily Tremblay (Fort Covington, N.Y. / Salmon River) and Rachel Spiker (Grand Island, N.Y. / Grand Island) reached base on an error as both Marsman and Tremblay came around to score.
Potsdam briefly reclaimed the lead in the sixth inning on a RBI triple by Ott that brought home Khalshia White (Saint Regis Falls, N.Y. / Saint Regis Falls). After Clarkson took the lead back in the following inning, Potsdam rallied once again on a Thivierge double, a Becker single and a McCuin sacrifice fly to tie it at 7-7.
Becker finished 2-for-4 with a double, a run and a RBI. Ott hit her team-leading third triple of the season.
Potsdam will host its home opener Friday at 3 p.m. against SUNYAC opponent Oneonta in a doubleheader.