Cardinals claim ECAC crown with 5-4 walk-off win over Knights

SCRANTON, Pa. – With its second walk-off win in as many days, CUA claimed the 2012 ECAC South championship on Sunday by downing Neumann 5-4.  The Cardinals dropped the day's first game 2-1 to the Knights, before tournament MVP Nina Curto scored on Monica Peters' sac fly to win the winner take-all nightcap.

Trailing 4-3 entering its final at bat, CUA staged a two-run rally in the bottom of the seventh of game two to claim the ECAC crown. Amy Laughner led the frame off with a single and then came home on Curto's one-out double.

An infield single by Erin McMakin allowed Curto to moved up to third base, and Peters then delivered the game-winning sac fly for a 5-4 CUA win.

Earlier in the game, Neumann struck first with a run in the second, but CUA tied things with a run in its half of the frame.  Allie Cain's single to center plated Peters for the Cardinals first run of the contest.

The Knights went back in front with a run in the third, but CUA responded with two runs this time to grab its first lead of the game.  Laughner led off the third with a single and Mel Galella followed with a walk.

A wild pitch moved the runners up a base and a Neumann error allowed both Cardinals to score to make it 3-2.

In the sixth, Neumann took the lead back with two runs, with Nicole Zamhudio's RBI single driving in one and a CUA error allowing the other to score.

That set the stage for the dramatic ending in the bottom of the seventh, giving CUA its third win in four games at the tournament.

Kerri Apicella earned the win for CUA after going all seven innings, striking out four and allowing three earned runs in the circle.

Curto earned the MVP award after going 1-for-4 with an RBI and the game-winning run, to go along with 10 putouts.  That followed an 11 put-out showing in game one and a 5-for-6 performance with three runs scored and an RBI in two games on Saturday.

Rachel Purpuro took the loss after she allowed two runs on five hits in 4.1 innings.

Game one featured only three total runs and 11 hits between the two teams, with CUA registering eight of the hits.

Purpuro was the winning pitcher this time, after not allowing a run in 5.2 innings and striking out four.  McMakin was dealt the loss after going all seven innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five.

CUA scored its first and only run of the game in the bottom of the first when McMakin singled in Laughner.

In the second, CUA received hits from Peters, Cain and Taylor Stockinger, but was unable to add to its lead.

Both pitchers got into a groove from that point, going the next three innings with neither allowing a run.

That changed in the sixth when Neumann scored two runs, including the eventual game-winner.  Mariah Ripken led the frame off with a double and then moved over to third on a ground out.

A triple by Allie White tied the game and a passed ball gave the Knights the lead after White crossed.

The Cardinals went down in order in the sixth, and other than a Cain single, did not threaten in the seventh, giving Neumann the win to force a winner take-all scenario.

CUA wraps up its season with a record of 26-17, while Neumann finishes up with a 30-18 mark.  The Cardinals have won at least 25 games in two of the last three years.

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