May 18, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. - After a stellar campaign that saw Fordham register its third NCAA Regional appearance in the past four years, the Rams' season has come to an end. Fordham fell to Arkansas, 5-2, in game five of the Norman Regional.
Freshman pitcher Patti Maloney found herself in an early jam, as Devon Wallace and Clarisa Navarro reached based on a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively. On the next at bat, it looked as if a bunt single followed by an error might score Arkansas' first run of the game, but the home plate umpire called Chloe Oprzedek out of the batter's box on the bunt and the Rams got their first out of the night. Maloney then recorded two straight outs, exiting the inning unscathed.
The Rams went down in order in the bottom of the first.
Maloney retired the Razorbacks without a problem in the top of the second before Michele Daubman picked up the Rams' first hit with a single to left in the bottom of the frame.
After two, Arkansas and Fordham remained scoreless.
In the top of the third, Maloney recorded two outs to open the inning, but Oprzedek tripled to right center and gave the Razorbacks a runner on third with two outs. Next up was Amanda Geile and she rocketed one to third base. Luckily, the steady presence of Kayla Lombardo was there for the Rams, knocking the ball down and getting it over to first for the inning's final out.
Jamie LaBovick tallied the Rams' second hit of the evening in the bottom of the third, but she stood on first when Chelsea Palumbo made the inning's third out. Through three, the Rams and Razorbacks were still scoreless.
Arkansas tallied the game's first runs in the top of the fourth. Stephanie Canfield led off the inning with a walk, advancing to second on a Sierra Bronkey groundout after Andrea Sullivan flew out to center for the inning's first out. The next batter, Jennifer Rambo, singled home Canfield and advanced to second on the throw. Arkansas' next at bat was nearly identical, another RBI single up the middle to give the Razorbacks a 2-0 lead after three and a half innings.
LaBovick came in to pitch the top of the fifth and her troubles with the illegal pitch did her in again. With a runner on third, LaBovick's foot came loose and the runner was awarded home, pushing Arkansas' lead to three.
Fordham finally grabbed a run in the bottom of the fifth. Paige Oritz started the rally, smacking a single with one out. After Cailin Winokur pinch ran for Ortiz, Claudia Law battled for a walk to give the Rams two runners on base. LaBovick singled to center in the next at bat, loading the bases for Palumbo. The Tablernacle, N.J., native took a 2-2 pitch and gave it a ride to center, but the ball landed in the center fielder's glove just short of the wall, limiting the play to only one run. After Elise Fortier grounded out to end the inning, the Rams trailed by two, 3-1.
LaBovick retired the Razorbacks without a run in the top of the sixth and the Rams jumped on the board again in the bottom half. Gabby Luety jacked a moon shot over the left field wall with one out, pulling Fordham within one, 3-2. Michele Daubman walked in the Rams' next at bat but the next two Fordham batters failed to bring her home.
In need of a scoreless inning to keep the comeback hopes alive, Fordham failed to keep Arkansas off the board. Oprezedek picked up her third hit of the day, a single, and stole second before advancing to third on a throwing error by Luety. Another illegal pitch by LaBovick scored Oprezedek from third. Arkansas plated another run, pushing their lead to three.
The Rams did not score in the bottom half of the seventh, and the stellar careers of Jamie LaBovick, Chelsea Palumbo and Jess Crowley came to an end.