Talia Bernstein '11 Sets Doubles Record, Caitlyn Grudzinski '13 Pitches 2 Wins as Cards Get to 8-0

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Extending the team's best-ever season start to 8-0, the Cardinals got four doubles and five RBI from Talia Bernstein '11 (#9, main photo) to get past Babson Sun., March 14, 8-7, and got a pair of pitching victories from Caitlyn Grudzinski '13 (#5, photo insert upper left) as she tossed a complete-game victory over SUNY Geneseo, 6-2, while also getting the win in relief vs. Babson.

For the third time in the team's eight games, the Cardinals produce the winning margin in their final at-bat as the squad rallied from an early 7-2 deficit to defeat Babson. Wesleyan entered the bottom of the 7th trailing 7-4 but cut the margin to 7-5 on an RBI single by Allee Beatty '13. The Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs and Bernstein delivered her fourth double of the game to clear the bases and give Wesleyan the triumph. The four doubles was the most ever in a game by a Cardinal (many had a two-double game in the past but never as many as three). Bernstein finished the game with five RBI, giving her a team-high 11 this season. Four other Cardinals had a two-hit game vs. Babson and Meaghan Dendy '10 scored three times including the game winner. She started the game on the mound and was touched for five unearned runs before giving way to Grudzinski, who threw the final four innings while allowing four hits and two runs.

Grudzinski hurled a seven-hitter vs. Geneseo as Wesleyan built a 4-0 lead through five innings. Sam Epstein '12 had a big game at the plate with two doubles including a key two-run two-bagger in the 6th that gave Wesleyan its six-run cushion. She also had an RBI double in the 4th.

Wesleyan saw its win streak come to an end when the Cardinals took on Berry and SUNY Plattsburgh in a pair of games Mon., March 15. Berry scored the final two runs of the game to go ahead, 6-5, and kept Wesleyan at bay to secure the one-run victory. Against Plattsburgh, Wesleyan fell behind 7-3 after four innings and never got any closer in dropping a 9-5 decision.

The Cardinals took advantage of two Berry miscues in the 4th inning and generated four runs thanks to Beatty's two-run triple and a two-run single by Dendy. With that, the Cardinals held a 5-2 lead. Berry picked up a pair in the bottom of the 4th and took the lead for good in the 5th. Beatty finished with two of Wesleyan's five hits in the game and also scored two runs.

Against Plattsburgh, Beatty again had two hits as did Chrissy Bello '12. Dendy had another two-run single which cut Wesleyan's deficit to 4-3 in the bottom of the 3rd. Three runs by Plattsburgh in the 4th upped the gap to 7-3 and Wesleyan's final two runs came in the 7th when Bello had an RBI double and Dendy drove in her third run with a sacrifice fly.

After a day off, the Cardinals took on Division III nationally top-10 ranked Cortland St. followed by Manhattanville Wed., March 17. Errors proved the Cardinals' undoing as seven miscues led to seven unearned runs by the opposition as Wesleyan lost 6-1 to Cortland and 3-1 to Manhattanville.

Dendy limited the hard-hitting Red Dragons to seven hits and just one earned run but six errors led the five unearned runs as Cortland led 6-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th. Wesleyan averted a shutout thanks to an RBI double by Bello. Bernstein had a pair of safeties as Wesleyan matched its foe with seven hits.

Dana Levy '12 posted her first complete game of the season, yielding just five hits and one earned run to Manhattanville. A passed ball in the 3rd and an error in the 6th led to two Valiant unearned runs, and they proved to be the difference in the game. Wesleyan scored its run courtesy of an RBI triple from Tori Redding '13 in the 5th. Both Bello and Alexis Kral '12 had a pair of hits for the Cardinals as Wesleyan outhit its rival, 6-5.

Wesleyan closed out its Florida excursion Thurs., March 18, facing Concordia (WI) and R.I.C. The Cardinals were forced to play catch-up in both outings and couldn't make up the difference, falling 3-2 to Concordia and 5-2 to R.I.C.

The teams played three scoreless innings before Concordia chased across its three runs between the 4th and 5th innings. Wesleyan rallied for its two runs in the 7th, both coming on Beatty's one-out single to right center. Redding then followed with a base hit and both she and Beatty stole a base to put the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second. Dendy grounded out to short for the second out and Beatty attempted to score on the play, but was nailed at the plate to end the game.

R.I.C. grabbed a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer in the 2nd and never trailed thereafter. Wesleyan got as close as 3-2 through five innings thanks to RBI safeties from Redding and Bello. But R.I.C. upped the margin to three heading into the bottom of the 7th. The final R.I.C. pitcher ended up retiring all six Cardinals she faced over two frames while striking out the side in the 7th to earn a save.

Still, with their 8-6 record, the Cardinals posted just the second winning record in the 16 years the team has been making trips to warmer climates to inaugurate the campaign. No previous squad recorded more than six wins during such an excursion with the 6-5 mark of the 2004 team the only other winning mark.

(photos by Ron Bernstein P'11)