April 10, 2010
Contact: Brian McCann
CLEVELAND, Ohio. - Lia Gordon and Amy Powell each hit home runs to bring the Vikings back from 7-3 sixth inning deficit and Amanda Macenko threw a three-hitter in the opener to win her 100th career game as the Vikings swept a league doubleheader from Wright State, winning 2-0 in the opener and 8-7 in the nightcap on Saturday afternoon at Viking Field.
Cleveland State, which has now won 17 of its last 18 games, improved to 26-8 overall and moved into first place in the Horizon League with a 7-1 record. The Vikings moved past Valparaiso (6-1), who was idle from league play. Wright State slipped to 13-19-1 overall and 4-4 in league action.
"Wow, what a day," CSU head coach Angie Nicholson said. "We just continue to take these one game at a time and do what we need to go to win.
"We rode a great pitching performance by Amanda (Macenko) in the first game and supplied her with an early lead and some great defense. In the second game, even though we were down early, we refused to give up and we kept playing aggressively at the plate and on the bases which let us come back and win the game."
The first game belonged to Macenko, who threw a three-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts to improve to 20-8 on the year and 100-46 for her career. She allowed just five baserunners in the game with just two advancing as far as second base to become just the second player in Horizon League history to win 100 career games and the first to win 20 games or more in four seasons.
"That was about as well as I have seen Amanda throw in her career," Nicholson said. "She was focused, hit her spots and was able to blow the ball by the batters when she needed to."
The Viking scored their only runs in the first when Jessica Burt led off with a single and came around to score when Tess Sito blasted her 13th home run of the season to right centerfield. The long ball was Sito's 13th of the year, tying Lia Gordon's school record set last year.
Sito was two-for-two in the game, her 17th multiple hit game of the season.
"Tess is having a remarkable year," Nicholson said. "She just went with the pitch and drove it to right center."
The Vikings found themselves down 5-0 in the third inning of the nightcap. Wright State scored a single run in the second on a two-out single by Mollie Berry. The Raiders then added four in the third on a Justine Shilt grand slam to right field.
Cleveland State started its comeback in the fourth. After Megan Bashak led off with a walk and Sito was hit by a pitch, Katelyn Ciminelli hit a one-out double to score Bashak. Dara Toman followed with a hard grounder to third that went through the legs of Louie Haney at third base and went into left field, allowing two runs to score to pull CSU to within 5-3.
Wright State answered back with two run in the fifth on back-to-back home runs by Jamie Perkins and Allison Cox to build a 7-3 advantage. That was all for Macenko, who threw the second game with a sore right shoulder suffered when throwing a runner out overhand in the seventh inning of the first game.
Macenko allowed seven runs on 10 hits in four innings. She struck out four batters to raise her career total to 898, leaving her 11 strikeouts short of Amy Kyler's school record 909 career strikeouts, the last of the major CSU career pitching records that she hasn't broken.
The Vikings loaded the bases with one out in the sixth when Ciminelli and Gabby Gillilan sandwiched infield singles around a Toman walk. Powell followed with a line drive to left that cleared the fence just inside the foul pole to tie the game at 7-7.
"Amy has really come through for us offensively during this home stand," Nicholson said. "She has been hitting the ball consistently in practice and has recently carried it over to the games as well. She was behind 0-2 on the count but battled back to get the count full and then fouled off a few pitches until she got one she could drive."
That was all for Raider starter Sharon Palma, who allowed seven runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings.
CSU didn't stop there as with two outs, Burt and Bashak each singled off reliever Allison Cox to put runners at first and second but WSU's Kristen Bradshaw made a nice catch on a foul ball down the third base line by Sito to end the inning.\
Sito, who relieved Macenko in the fifth, allowed a single by Haney to open the seventh before setting down the next three batters to end the inning.
Gordon led off the bottom of the frame with a walk-off home run to left to cap the dramatic come back and give the Vikings the win. It was Gordon's fifth of the year and allowed her to surpass Amy Jauert's school record with her 22nd of her career.
"I just knew that Lia was going to end the game with a home run," Nicholson said. "She just crushed it."
Sito allowed just two hits in three innings of work to get the win and improve to 3-0 on the year while Cox was the loser for Wright State, slipping to 3-2.
The Vikings will face the Raiders again in a single game on Sunday, starting at 12:00 noon at Viking Field.