Ephs blanked by St. John Fisher in national championship opener

Ephs blanked by St. John Fisher in national championship opener

Williams Post-Game Press Conference (Head Coach Kris Herman, Rebecca Duncan and Jessica Kim)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- St. John Fisher's Lindsey Thayer tossed a no-hitter Thursday night and the Cardinals defeated the Williams College softball team 2-0 in both teams opening game of the 2017 NCAA Div. III national championship round at OGE Energy Field. 

Williams fell to 36-12 on the season and will play an elimination game Friday at 2:30 P.M. EST against St. Catherine at the USA Hall of Fame Softball Complex. The Ephs will be the visiting team in that game. 

"There were a lot of good things on both sides," Ephs' head coach Kris Herman said. "Hats off to their pitcher, who did a tremendous job -- she held a good-hitting team to no hits, so that's the fairly obvious part. I thought we had a lot of good at-bats, put the bat on the ball, and we're ready to come back and pick up where we left off tomorrow."

Thursday's night game was a great pitcher's duel between Thayer and Williams first-year Rebecca Duncan. The Ephs only baserunner of the game was there first batter of the game as Jessica Kim drew a five-pitch walk. After the first of Thayer's 11 Ks in the game, Kim stole second, but she was stranded there as the Cardinals' hurler fanned Mackenzie Murphy and Duncan.

St. John Fisher would strike quickly in its half of the first. Julia Sortisio led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and moved into scoring position after Katie Mazierski dropped down a bunt single. Ashley Prince followed with a sacrifice bunt, and Sarah Kubik drove in a run with a ground out to Ephs' second baseman Brenna Martinez

Baserunners were hard to come by for each team after the first. Thayer retired the next 12 batters she faced and Duncan 10 of the next 11 she saw until an Emma Savas one-out single in the fifth. However, Duncan turned that into a harmless single. 

St. John Fisher would add a run and chase Duncan from the game in the bottom of the sixth however. With one out, Prince roped a double to left and scored when Sarah Kubik lined an RBI-single to center field for a 2-0 lead. Murphy came on in relief to close out the frame.

Thayer was able to retire the Ephs in order in the top of the seventh and complete her third no-hitter of the season. Of the 21 outs she recorded, 11 were strikeouts, seven of the swinging variety. Williams had 10 outs in play and of those 10, six were well hit but right at somebody. 

In the second inning, Casey Pelz drove a ball deep to center that was caught on the warning track. In the top of the fourth, Murphy hit a difficult one-hopper toward right field that Cardinal first baseman Kubik snared on the backhand and took the out unassisted at first. 

In the fifth, Martinez made solid contact on a falling shot to center, but Sortisio made a nice run to her right to snare the ball. In the sixth, Riley Salvo lined out to Kubik at first and, with two outs, Kim lined out to second. 

"I think the main thing we were focusing on was laying off the high pitches," Kim said. "I think we did a good job on that. For me personally, I was trying to see as many pitches as possible."

Thayer improved to 29-5 with the victory. Duncan, who went 5 1/3 and allowed only four hits and two runs while walking two and striking out three, fell to 16-5 on the season.

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March 10, 2017 2017 Season Outlook