Home Run Heroics Send Dayton to Softball Championship Game
AMHERST, Mass.— Jordan Jennings hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to lift top-seeded Dayton to a 5-4 victory over fourth-seeded George Mason in the Atlantic 10 Softball Championship semifinals at Sortino Field Friday afternoon.
Dayton (39-13) advances to the Saturday’s championship game against third-seeded Fordham (35-18). First pitch is at 1:00 p.m. Fordham has not lost in the double-elimination event. If the Flyers win the game, the teams will play an ‘if-necessary’ game immediately following the first game.
Jennings entered the game as a pinch hitter at the designated player position and was 0-for-2 in the tournament prior to her go-ahead home run. Trailing 4-2 entering the sixth, A-10 Player of the Year Tiffany Ricks reached first on a fielding error before advancing to third on Kayla Haberstitch’s single. That’s when Jennings sent a 1-1 offering over the wall in left to put the Flyers ahead 5-4.
A-10 Rookie of the Year Manda Cash (13-2) earned her second win of the day, working six innings of scoreless relief with four strikeouts while scattering eight hits.
Haberstitch went 3-for-3 and scored twice for the Flyers.
George Mason (23-29) outhit UD 13-to-8 and left 13 runners on base. Liz Seymour had three hits, two RBI and scored once for the Patriots.
Mason scored a run in the first and three in the second to go ahead 4-0 and chase UD starter Kayla English after facing 10 batters.
Seymour hit a one-out triple in the first and scored on a Casey Price single. In the second inning, the Patriots loaded the bases with no outs before Mary O’Connor singled down the left field line to score Sarah Solano. Seymour followed as the first batter Cash faced and hit the first pitch she saw into left field and drove in Angela Maioran and McKenzie Jones.
The 4-0 lead held until the fourth inning when Dayton scored twice on Katie Ryan’s pinch hit single up the middle.
That was the way it stood until Jennings heroics.
Sarah Kleinfelter (5-6) struck out two in a complete game loss for Mason.