Devils’ first shutout of Cortland leads to split

Special to The OBSERVER

CORTLAND — Sam Seegar pitched a two-hitter and Eva FitzSimmons drove in all three runs as Fredonia shut out Cortland, 3-0, in the second game of their SUNYAC softball doubleheader Thursday.

Cortland won the first game, 4-0. The Blue Devils improved to 11-17 overall and 6-6 in the SUNYAC.

Seegar kept the Red Dragons (17-12 overall, 9-3 SUNYAC) off balance with a mix of pitches to record Fredonia’s first shutout over Cortland in the 43-game history of the series, which dates back to 2000. It was also only Fredonia’s sixth-ever win over over Cortland.

Seegar struck out two and walked no one.

FitzSimmons — Seegar’s batterymate — rocked a two-run homer in the first inning — her first as a collegian — and RBI single in the seventh, both hits coming with two outs. The Blue Devils also turned two more double plays Thursday, including a game-ending gem turned by second baseman Amber Piniewski.

With a runner on second and one out, Piniewski leaped and back-handed a liner ticketed for right-center, She then flipped to shortstop Karli Murray to complete the twin-killing, Fredonia’s 21st of the season. The Blue Devils entered the day leading all of NCAA Division III in double plays per game (0.68).

Fredonia collected eight hits in the first game, three by Murray and two by Sydney Merkley, yet left nine runners stranded. They were also guilty of two costly errors which led to three of Cortland’s four runs. Katie Yudin was tagged with the loss.

Yudin had two hits in Game 2.

The Devils in the details:

GAME ONE

Cortland had runners on second and third with one out in the second inning before Yudin pitched out of the jam.

The Blue Devils loaded the bases in the fourth inning on a single by Megan Maull, a hit batter, and a walk. A single up the middle by Maddy O’Heir was negated, and no runs scored, when the Fredonia runner at second ran into the Cortland shortstop trying to make a play on the ball. It was the second out of the inning. Winning pitcher Sam Van Dorn retired the next batter to escape the jam.

Cortland scored all its runs in the last of the fourth. The rally was fueled by two Fredonia errors.

Fredonia loaded the bases again in the seventh on singles by Nicole Kumro, Murray, and Merkley, before Van Dorn induced the final out on an infield grounder.

GAME TWO

Murray led off the game with a walk ahead of the homer by FitzSimmons, a smash to deep left.

The Blue Devils loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth innning on a single by O’Heir, a double by Cassie Herman, and a Cortland error, but could not score.

Cortland’s first hit, a double by Taylor Felicello, came with one out in the fourth. Felicello advanced to third on an infield out but remained there when Seegar struck out the next batter.

Fredonia’s insurance run came in the top of the seventh. Murray walked, was sacrificed to second by Merkley, and scored on a single to left by FitzSimmons.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Saturday’s scheduled SUNYAC doubleheader at Oswego has been pushed back to Monday with first pitch of Game 1 set for 1 p.m.

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