CORTLAND, NY – The Johnson & Wales University softball team made a pair of comebacks against SUNY Cortland on Saturday in the NCAA Tournament, but couldn't come up with one more to extend its season. The Wildcats lost a 4-3 decision to the Red Dragons.
Johnson & Wales ends the season with a 34-10 record. The 34 wins are the most in school history.
Down 2-0 after the Red Dragons scored in the second and fourth innings, Johnson & Wales used back-to-back dingers to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Diana Amendolara (Newtown, Pa.) hit a solo shot with two outs then Tiffani Semanchik (Flemington, NJ) followed with the first home run of her collegiate career.
After Cortland pulled ahead in the top of the fifth, JWU had the answer in the bottom of the inning. Alex Fantasia (Framingham, Mass.) picked up her team-leading second hit of the day when she ripped a leadoff double. She moved up on a sacrifice bunt then crossed the plate on a single by Kristin Frost (Pearl City, Hawaii).
Another home run gave the Red Dragons the lead in the top of the sixth. Skyler Hoyt hit a solo shot off JWU reliever Emily Gundrum (Bethlehem, Pa.) for the eventual winning run.
The Wildcats had an opportunity to score the tying run in the bottom of the seventh, but pinch runner Taylor Fay – who came in for Katie Rufo (Natick, Mass.) after she hit a leadoff single – was stranded at third.
Head coach Kim Camara-Harvey has stockpiled a lot of talent for a run at championship number four, but she'll have to replace two big bats in the lineup. Senior Emily Gorecki (Bremerton, Wash.), the JWU career leader in every offensive category, is graduating as is Amendolara, who ranks in the top 10 for batting average, RBIs and home runs.