Cards Play Top-Ranked Eastern Conn. Tough, Dropping 4-1 Decision Before Coming Back for 2-2 Tie

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Facing New England's top-ranked team and 16th-ranked nationally Eastern Connecticut in a double-header Thurs., April 15, Wesleyan gave up four unearned runs in the opener and fell by a 4-1 count before recovering from a 2-0 deficit to forge a 2-2 tie in the nightcap as the game was called after seven innings due to darkness. (NOTE - Archive of the webcast of the first game is now up on the Webcast area of the athletics home page - sorry about the transmission trouble).

Wesleyan received solid pitching once again from Meaghan Dendy '10 (#7, photo insert lower left) and Caitlyn Grudzinski '13. In the first game, Dendy gave up just six hits and three walks with four strikeouts in posting her eighth complete game of the year. She did not yield an earned run as three Cardinal mistakes led to all four Eastern runs. Grudzinski, also with a complete game in the second game, her seventh of the season, was touched for just two runs on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout.

Wesleyan got its only run in the first game when Sam Epstein '12 (#11, photo insert upper left) sent a shot over the left-field fence in the 4th inning. It was the only home run allowed by Eastern ace Molly Rathbun in 75 innings of work this season. She entered the game with a 0.31 ERA and an opponent batting average of .111. Wesleyan, with five hits, had a .192 average in the contest.

In the second game, Chrissy Bello '12 (#4, main photo) drove in the Cardinals' final run in the bottom of the 7th to knot the count at 2-2. Dendy had led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Tori Redding '13. Bello then ripped a liner into left for the tying RBI. Wesleyan had made it a 2-1 game in the 6th when pinch-runner Allee Beatty '13 scored from third base on a groundout by Matti Peters '13. Eastern had three of its seven hits in the 5th inning, scoring twice to break the scoreless deadlock.

Things didn't go quite as well for the Cards on Sat., April 17 against New England's #2-ranked squad, Brandeis, which holds down the #20 spot nationally. The first game of the double-header was a 2-0 game in Brandeis' favor heading into the final inning. Pitcher Dendy had allowed just three hits and two unearned runs to that point. The Judges opened up the scoring jets with six runs in the 7th to grab an 8-0 victory.

In the nightcap, Brandeis batted around twice in the 1st inning in rolling up 13 runs on 11 hits. Wesleyan did end its scoreless
streak in the 3rd, coming up with four runs but the game ended 17-4 for the visitors. Taylor Zavadsky '10 led the Cards at the plate in the twin-bill, going 3-for-6. Bello and Alexis Kral '12 added two hits apiece.

Wesleyan starts a vital three-game NESCAC West series at Amherst for a single game Fri., April 23 before coming home for a double-header Sat., April 24. The game at Amherst has LiveStats available and a link to see them is located on the athletics home page under "Webcasts."

(photos courtesy of Ron Bernstein P'11)