May 10, 2013

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AMHERST, Mass. - No 2 seed Fordham scored three runs in the first inning and held off No. 1 seed Saint Joseph's for a 3-1 victory at the 2013 Atlantic 10 Softball Championship at Sortino Field Friday.

The win moves Fordham (34-20) into Saturday's championship game, while Saint Joseph's (35-9-1) drops into the loser's bracket and will play the Temple-Saint Louis winner in an elimination game at 3 p.m.

For the Rams, the top three in the order took care of business as Jamie LaBovick, Chelsea Palumbo and Elise Fortier had two hits apiece and scored all three runs.

LaBovick (12-9) earned the win as she allowed a run on two hits over 4.1 innings. Michelle Daubman picked up her first save of the season with an inning and a third of one-hit ball.

SJU had three hits - all from the bottom three in the order - in the game and drew four walks. Starter Taryn Ashway (26-4) lasted just two-plus innings after giving up all three Fordham runs in the first frame. Liz Mendez worked five innings in relief and retired 12-consecutive batters at one point.

Fordham wasted little time taking the lead as the first three batters singled and came around to score. Jamie LaBovick singled up the middle, Chelsea Palumbo beat out a bunt to third and Elise Fortier had an RBI single to left to put the Rams on the board. Palumbo scored on Michelle Daubman's sacrifice fly to center before Fortier scampered home on a wild pitch.

The Rams loaded the bases in the second with a three more singles but were unable to capitalize when Palumbo lined to Morgan Earling at third base, who pivoted and tagged Brianna Turgeon as she attempted to dive back to the bag.

SJU scored its lone run of the contest in the fifth inning. With runners ate first and second, Brandi Harkness singled to center where Palumbo threw a strike to Gabby Luety at home as she tagged Rochelle Christman out. Morgan Earling, who started at first, was trying to advance to third and Luety's throw was wild and allowed the Hawk third baseman to score.