DUBOIS, Pa. – A four-run fifth inning was the difference as No. 4 NHTI rallied past No. 5 Penn State Brandywine for a 4-3 victory at the USCAA Small College Softball World Series Monday afternoon at Heindl Memorial Field.
Five of the Lynx' seven hits came during the decisive fifth inning, including a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Kabrina Roy that broke a 2-2 tie, putting NHTI in front for good.
Facing all-American pitcher Tori Lemay, Brandywine put plenty of runners on base and built a 2-0 lead through four-and-a-half innings of play.
The Lions loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth inning for Maddie Malfara (Ardsley, Pa./Abington), who sent a base hit to center field, scoring Julie Foeldes (Kendall Park, N.J./South Brunswick) after Foeldes started the rally with a one-out walk.
One inning later, Brandywine added to its lead as Katy Steffen (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown West) stroked a double to left field, plating Rachel Cherubini (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove), who had earlier reached on an error.
After NHTI went in front, Brandywine got one run back in the seventh when Alexa Anderson (West Deptford, N.J./West Deptford) sent her team-leading eighth home run over the left field fence. Steffen followed with a base hit, putting the tying run at first, but Lemay retired the final two batters she faced to preserve the victory.
Malfara and Steffen both produced two hits to pace the Brandywine offense, while Katie DeStefano (Kennett Square, Pa./Kennett) suffered her first loss in the circle since April 8. DeStefano (20-6) struck out three and yielded four runs on seven hits in seven innings of work.
Making its fourth consecutive USCAA World Series appearance, Brandywine faces elimination on Tuesday morning when it battles No. 10 Penn State Beaver at 10:00 am. Brandywine (25-9-1) picked up a 5-1 victory over Beaver during the PSUAC Tournament on May 6 during the teams' lone meeting this season.