HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Ohio Dominican's softball team suffered a pair of stinging defeats at Northern Kentucky on Wednesday afternoon as the Norse twice rallied for come-from-behind walk-off wins of 6-5 and 4-2 in the non-conference affair at Frank Ignatius Grein Field.
The setbacks put a halt to the Panthers' eight-game win streak as ODU fell to 12-12 overall and 2-10 on the road, while NKU improved to 19-11 and 7-7 at home.
The Panthers' knack for scoring early continued in game one as ODU touched up NKU's ace for three runs on seven hits over the first three frames. Senior Erin Sutter (Mansfield, OH) reached in the second with a one-out single down the right field line. Following a record-tying ninth hit by pitch by freshman Alex Cribari (Lyndhurst, OH), sophomore Danyelle Delligatta (Sidney, OH) lined an RBI single down the left field chalk. Back-to-back singles from sophomore Rebekha Lucas (Laurelville, OH) and junior Brooke McCartney (Salem, OH) plated Delligatta for the 2-0 lead.
Senior Kylee Crislip (Louisville, OH) brought the advantage to three with her team-leading sixth homer of the season to right center in the third.
The Norse knotted the game at 3-3 with three runs on six hits over the third and fourth innings, but ODU came right back to reclaim the lead, sending two runs across in the top of the fifth. Crislip took first with a one-out walk and sophomore Caitlin Jividen (Wheeling, WV) followed with a base hit to right. Freshman pinch runner Kacey Locker (Tipp City, OH) came around to score on the play thanks to a fielding miscue from the rightfielder. A single to third by Sutter and third hit by pitch for Cribari loaded the bases for Delligatta who came through with a sacrifice to left, plating Jividen.
NKU once again rallied, plating two runs on a trio of hits in the fifth to even the score at 5-5. With neither team able to find the go-ahead score in the sixth or seventh, the game went to extras. In the eighth, a one-out base knock to shortstop put Cribari on board. Delligatta then sent a 1-0 delivery to deep left field with what appeared like the go-ahead base hit, but a remarkable jump by the left fielder allowed her to chase it down for the game-saving catch.
With the late burst of momentum, the Norse wasted little time in their at-bat as a one-out single up the middle was followed by the game-winning RBI triple to right center for the 6-5 final.
In the nightcap, both starting pitchers were in the groove early as the teams combined for only three hits over the initial three innings. The Panthers opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top half of the fourth. Senior Caitlin Chaney (Newark, OH) led off with a double to right, freshman Taylor Thomas (Bellville, OH) walked and Crislip smoked an RBI-single down the left field line. Serving as pinch-runner for the second time, Locker then came home on a wild pitch for the 2-0 edge.
A pair of throwing errors allowed NKU to rally with one run in both the fourth and sixth frames, tying the game at 2-2. In the seventh, ODU once again was in position to take the late lead as Sutter singled up the middle, Cribari hit into a fielder's choice and Delligatta doubled to left, extending her hit streak to a team season-best eight games. Yet, the Panthers failed to take advantage of the runners in scoring position as a groundout to third ended the threat.
With a runner aboard, the late-game heroics continued for the Norse as freshman Kaylin Steinmetz, already the NKU single-season homerun record holder, delivered a two-run, walk-off shot over the right field fence for her 14th long ball of the year and the 4-2 decision.
Sutter concluded the afternoon 4-of-7 at the plate with one stolen base to lead the Panthers, while Delligatta went 3-of-6 with an RBI and run scored. With her three hit by pitches in the opener, Cribari, already the single-season record holder, tied the ODU single-game record for the third time this year and now sits just four shy of matching the all-time career mark of 16 set by Kelly Simms (2000-03).
ODU has a quick turnaround as NFCA No. 2 Indianapolis (Ind.) brings a 22-game win streak to Panther Field tomorrow for a 3 p.m. non-conference doubleheader clash.
Contact: Bryan Desch