TEMPE, ARIZ. – The Dartmouth softball team dropped its second game in the Tempe Regional, 8-0 (6 innings), to San Diego State on Saturday evening, eliminating the Big Green who made their inaugural appearance in the Field of 64.
Dartmouth picked up five hits on the afternoon, but SDSU starter Danielle O’Toole shutdown the Big Green offense, allowing two hits in four innings inside the circle. Erica Romero closed out the game for the Aztecs tossing a pair of scoreless innings.
SDSU scored three in the third, beginning with singles to Dominique Dinner and Monica Downey, followed by a three-run homer by Kayla Jordan to give the Aztecs a 3-0 lead.
Sydnee Cable walked to begin the fourth inning and then Hayley Miles hit a two-run homer to give the Aztecs a five-run edge. Sophomore Morgan McCalmon then came on to pitch and allowed a triple down the right field line by Dinner, who scored on a passed ball for the sixth run. San Diego added its fourth run of the frame and seven in the contest on a single to left field by Katie Mathis that allowed Leia Ruiz to score on a throwing error by left fielder freshman Chloe Madill. Ruiz reached base on a double down the left field line.
In the Dartmouth fifth, Madill singled up the middle but was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double on a hard throw by Miles out in center field. Classmate Maddie Damore then singled to the second baseman who made a diving attempt but could not hold on.
In the san Diego State fifth, Kayla Bufardeci doubled and then a sacrifice hit by Jaylene Ignacio moved the runner over to third. With SDSU needing just one more run to end the contest - due to the eight-run mercy rule - Diner flied out to right field, forcing a spectacular throw home by sophomore Brianna Lohmann to complete the double play to end the stanza.
In the Big Green sixth, McCalmon hit a two-out single to left field, but was unable to advance after a strikeout.
Dartmouth junior starter Kristen Rumley allowed five runs in 3.1 innings and before McCalmon ended the frame allowing two runs. Freshman Ashley Sissel tossed the final inning and allowed the game ending run on a double to the fence by Ruiz.
Dartmouth concludes the season 31-19 and will return its core group, including All-Ivy players Kristen Rumley, Morgan McCalmon and Katie McEachern. The team will lose seniors Kara Curosh and Alex St. Romain to commencement.
Head Coach Rachel Hanson
“I am proud of this team, proud of the way we battled our guts out both of these games. Bri (Brianna Lohmann) keeping us in the game with that throw, a laser. Just couldn’t be prouder. This is by far the best season in school history and this is the team we wanted to do it with. Start to finish they battled and competed. For us now we know what we need to do. We need to get better and get back here. That is the new bar that has been set. We see the level of competition and we know what we need to do to get back.”
On San Diego State’s starter Danielle O’Toole:
“She kept us off balance with her change of speed. She has a great change up. She kept us consistently off-balanced. We started to make some good contact with her. They were smart to pull knowing they have a game next, but I think we were making some good contact by the end. I was pleased on how quickly we were learning each at-bat. Hats off to her she did a great job.
On the overall experience of the tournament:
“It has been a fun journey to take with Kara (Curosh) and Alex (St. Romain) as seniors. It has been part of the plan. We knew where we wanted to be and we knew where wanted to end up. My seniors did a great job of really leading the charge and getting us here. Very proud of them and how they led this team this year and the previous years as well.”
On hitting the first double in Dartmouth’s NCAA Tournament History:
“It was a really cool thing. I wasn’t thinking I need to be the first, I was just saying I want to get a hit, we are here to compete. I wanted to show people that. It was nice that I made contact. I was just happy to contribute to the team. That is what it is all about.”
On playing in the Postseason as a senior:
“It was a bit surreal. From where we started my freshman and sophomore year it was not where we are to put it nicely. What Coach has done with the program. What she was talking about with the level of commitment. Alex and I both bought into what she was saying and all her recruits also did. Having that kind of buy-in and working so hard to accomplish something that you have worked for four years to get. It was surreal.”
On throwing the potential game-winning run out at the plate:
“We practice that stuff every day. It is a routine play. Something that should be made. Not that kind of pressure or that situation, but it is something that I practiced every day. My coaches have prepared me and my teammates so well for this. I knew what I had to do and I went out there and did it.”
On the experience of playing in the postseason:
“It was surreal. It was one thing you hope for as a kid. Once you get to college you realize it is going to be a lot harder then you thought. Last year we worked hard and this year we worked harder. We really wanted this and the whole team came together. We all earned this. We all worked so hard and it was a great experience to be able to share with my teammates and my coaches. I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else.”