Feb. 9, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. - The Boilermaker softball team fought another Top 25 team to the wire, falling 2-1 to No. 22 North Carolina in a nine-inning affair Saturday morning. Purdue came back to tie it up in the seventh inning, but could not hold off the Tarheels in the final stanza.
The Boilermakers had their chances, managing nine hits to UNC's six, but stranded 13 runners in the game, including the bases loaded twice. Purdue also had a shot to take the lead in the ninth inning, but were beat out in a play at the plate. Junior Andie Varsho and sophomore Ashley Burkhardt tallied two hits apiece to lead the Boiler bats.
Lori Spingola (1-1) struck out eight in the win for North Carolina, while sophomore Lexy Moore (0-1) was saddled with the loss, despite allowing just two hits in six and two-thirds innings of relief work. Freshman Lilly Fecho allowed a run on four hits in the first two stanzas.
Purdue filled the base paths on two walks and a hit by pitch in the first inning, but were unable to bring a run home. Junior Lindsey Rains was hit to start the game. Senior Erika Petruzzi joined her with a one-out walk and freshman Paris Andrew came aboard on a two-out free pass. A strikeout kept the scoreboard blank.
The Boilermakers threatened again in the second, loading the basepaths on two singles and a walk, but came up empty. Senior Ashley Courtney singled up the middle and Varsho followed with a base hit to left. Rains drew a one-out walk, but a fielder's choice play at the plate and a strikeout ended the rally.
North Carolina broke through in the second, combining a double, a ground out and a single for a run. An Amber Parrish double started the stanza. Her pinch runner went to third on a grounder to short and scored on a two-out pinch hit single to right.
UNC stranded two in the third and Purdue returned the favor in the fourth, failing to convert after pinch hitter Kristin Morgan was hit by a pitch and Rains drew her second walk.
Neither team managed any offense in the fifth or sixth, setting up a back-against-the-wall rally for the Boilermakers in the seventh. The third time was the charm for the Boilers as they filled the bases on a trio of hits and were finally able to push a run across to tie the game 1-1. Burkhardt looped a single into shallow left to start the rally. Rains dropped a single in just beyond second base and junior Tori Chiodo reached on an infield single to set the table for the score. With one out, junior Danielle Fletcher lifted a high fly ball to deep left field, enough to allow Burkhardt to scurry home on the sacrifice fly.
The Boilermaker defense held in the seventh, sending the game to extra innings. Purdue had the first shot to score, putting runners at first and second in the eighth after singles by Varsho and Burkhardt, but a sharp play on a laser to first base wrapped up the inning.
Purdue had a chance at the go-ahead run in the ninth, but another great defensive play by the Tarheels kept the game tied 1-1. Petruzzi poked a one-out single up the right field line. Fletcher then tagged a gapper to right center for a double. Petruzzi rounded the bases heading for home and was called out in a close play at the plate. A fly out left Fletcher at second.
North Carolina got new life with a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth. A single to the pitcher pushed the runner to second, from which she scored the game-winner on a double to the right center gap.