CORTLAND, N.Y.– Senior Sami Brown went three-for-three, including two hits in the Knights' eight-run fourth inning, as the SUNY Geneseo softball team defeated Cortland 8-5 Friday in SUNYAC tournament action. Senior pitcher Corrin Spallone recorded her 16th victory on the season, allowing just six Red Dragon hits. The win leaves the Knights, ranked third in the NCAA Northeast Region, the only unbeaten team remaining in the tournament and one win away from the SUNYAC championship.
Cortland (32-11), ranked second in the Northeast and the tournament's top seed, put two on the board in the bottom of the second to take the early lead, the first time in the tournament that Knights have trailed. Geneseo (28-10) went into the fourth inning without a hit, but had eight in the frame, all singles. Brown, junior Courtney Budynas and senior Kayleigh Blersch had three consecutive hits to start the inning, loading the bases. After the Red Dragons recorded the inning's first out, Brown scored the Knights' first run when first-year pinch-hitter Claire VanNewkirk got onboard on an infield error. Another infield error on junior Cat Krok's grounder plated another run to knot the game at two. Sophomore Abby Dennett, junior Mikayla Moore and senior Ashley Fillmore then followed with consecutive singles, each driving home a run to push the lead to 5-2. After a pitching change for Cortland, Brown greeted the new hurler with her second hit of the inning, with two runs scoring on an outfielder throwing error. Budynas finished off the scoring with her second hit of the inning, a single that scored Brown.
Spallone (16-5) limited Cortland, the top-scoring offense in the SUNYAC this season, the rest of the way, allowing just single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. For the game, she gave up six hits, walked three and struck out two. Her victory tied her for sixth in the Geneseo record book for most wins in a season with Sarah Taub (2003) and Becky Palinski (1999).
The Knights' 28th win of the season is the most since the 2004 team went 28-17. Geneseo has won 24 of its last 25 games and after having its 18-game win streak snapped, has won six straight.
The victory puts the Knights in a strong position in the double-elimination tournament. Brockport and Cortland, the other two remaining teams, each have a loss and will face each other tomorrow morning at 11 a.m., with the loser being eliminated. The winner will face Geneseo at 1:30 p.m., with a victory in that game giving the Knights its first SUNYAC softball championship since 2002. A loss would mean the two teams would meet again at 12 p.m. on Sunday, with the winner of that game taking the championship.