Softball Sees Historic Season Come to an End

De Sales Box Score
Virginia Wesleyan Box Score

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A record-breaking 2013 season came to an end on Sunday for the Susquehanna softball team as the Crusaders split a pair of NCAA Tournament games with the game-two loss ending the season for SU.

Susquehanna (40-9) opened Sunday with a 2-1 win over De Sales before falling to 15th-ranked Virginia Wesleyan (41-7) in game two.

Overall, the 20th-ranked Crusaders picked up three wins over the course of the first-round action, surpassing the two wins SU earned in its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2010. SU finished the season with a program-record 40 wins, easily surpassing the previous program record of 34 victories, set in 2010.

In the opener against De Sales, Morgan Lewis (Newtown, Pa./Council Rock North) tossed the first 3.1 innings and surrendered only one run on three hits. Ashley Cole (Carle Place, N.Y./Carle Place) entered the game with one out in the fourth and pitched the final 3.2 innings to earn the win, her 17th of the spring.

Five different players accounted for SU's five hits with Kathryn Gilbert (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) and Lauren Gilbert (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) each driving in runs.

After a scoreless first inning, Amanda Neveroski (Toms River, N.J./Toms River North) drove a one-out triple to left center in the second inning and came around to score on a Lauren Gilbert RBI single to center field.

The Bulldogs (30-12-1) countered the very next inning with a solo run of their own to knot the game at one after 2 ½ innings.

That remained the score until the bottom of the fifth when Brianna Murphy (Hazlet, N.J./Mater Dei Prep) drew a two-out walk and proceeded to steal second and third base. She then scored on Kathryn Gilbert's single to left field to put Susquehanna ahead 2-1.

Cole worked around a seventh-inning single and walk to retire the final two batters and preserve the SU win as the team advanced to face Virginia Wesleyan.

Cole then got the starting nod for game two and lasted the first 3.1 innings, giving up one run on four hits. Sarah Hoffman (Laceyville, Pa./Wyalusing Valley) came in to toss the final 3.2 innings and surrendered three runs, two earned, on five hits. Neveroski finished the game 2-for-3.

The Marlins got off to a modest, 1-0 lead in the second inning and added another run in the bottom of the fifth.

The game was still well within reach for the Crusaders but in the top of the sixth, Virginia Wesleyan added two more runs, aided by a SU fielding error and two hits, to put Susquehanna in a 4-0 hole.

Susquehanna loaded the bases in the seventh, forcing a Marlins pitching change, but all three runners were left stranded as the season came to an end.

Cole and Neveroski were named to the All-Tournament Team.