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Bison Tournament Hopes Dashed After Split with Westminster

April 27 -BETHANY, W.Va. – Although the Bethany College softball team was eliminated from PAC Tournament contention with a 4-0 loss in game one to Westminster Saturday, the Bison came back with three runs in the sixth inning to pull out a 5-4 game-two victory over the Titans, who will be the #1 seed in next week’s conference playoffs.

4519Jump13.jpg In game one, Westminster slowly pulled away with a run in the second, two more in the third and a final tally in the fifth. The Bison would outhit the Titans 7-5, but could not come up with the big hit, as BC stranded seven runners in the game. Senior Emily Jump (right - Milford, Del./Polytech) had a pair of singles to lead Bethany, while sophomore Kelsey Bish (Landisville, Pa./Hempfield) and freshman Kayla Kelly (Pasadena, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) had doubles.

The starter in the opener was sophomore Kiersten Conwell (Washington, Pa./Chartiers-Houston), who suffered the loss after pitching into the third.

The Bison loss, coupled with Thomas More’s 8-0 win at Thiel, officially eliminated Bethany from earning a berth in the PAC Tournament. Meanwhile, Westminster’s victory and Washington & Jefferson’s triumph over Waynesburg clinched the top seed and hosting right for the Titans for the Tournament.

The pitchers controlled game two early with three shutout innings to begin the contest. The Titans broke through against Jump in the fourth on a two-run homer from Katie Hughes, but Bethany used three Westminster errors to score twice off Ashley Smith in the fifth inning. Jump brought in one run with a single and sophomore Emili Garretson (Winfield, W.Va.) gathered an RBI on a fielder’s choice and the game was tied at 2-2 going to the sixth.

7261Garretson13.jpg Jump retired the Titans in order in the top of the sixth and Bethany used a two-out rally to go in front. A throwing error allowed sophomore Jess Kusnierz (New Castle, Pa./Shenango) to score the go-ahead run and then Garretson (right) rolled a two-run single through the right side to bring in key insurance runs.

Those proved pivotal, as Westminster moved within a run following a two-run homer, but that was as close as they would get. With the tying run on second base, Jump induced a ground out to shortstop to end the game and earn her 10th win of the season. It was also the 52nd of her career, which ties Romney Waters for third place all-time at Bethany. She allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out four in the victory.

Jump would also lead the way at the plate, as she was 3-for-3, walked once and drove in one. Garretson collected three RBI, while Kusnierz and senior Maria Vallone (Rochester, N.Y./Webster Schroeder) scored two runs apiece.

The games were the final home appearances for four seniors in Jump, Vallone, Kaitlyn Pitchok (Weirton, W.Va./Weir) and Heidi Soriano (Austintown, Ohio/Austintown Fitch), who have won 96 games during their Bethany careers, including 43 in PAC play.

Bethany is scheduled to complete their regular season Sunday with a doubleheader at Case Western Reserve at 2 p.m.