Walk-Off Walk to Ambrosino Gives Softball the Win in NCAA Regional Opener

Lindsay Ambrosino - WPI Softball 2022

Glenside, PA --- Lindsay Ambrosino (Chelmsford, MA) worked a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the WPI softball team a 7-6 win over Johnson & Wales in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Division III Softball Regional hosted by Arcadia. 

WPI, fresh off a NEWMAC title, moves to 31-14 on the season, while Johnson & Wales, recent GNAC Champions, fall to 36-7. The Engineers will play tomorrow at noon against the winner of the Arcadia/Lesley match-up later today. The Wildcats will meet the loser of that game tomorrow at 2:30 pm. 

WPI had to battle back from a deficit four different times in the game before Ambrosino's walk gave the Engineers the victory. She worked an eight-pitch at-bat with four fouls before taking a pitch high and outside for the game-winning RBI. 

Johnson & Wales opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Mackenzie Clee (Warminster, PA) started the game with a single to left-center and was driven home on a double from Julia Huzi (Trumbull, CT). An RBI groundout from Kaelani Gamble (Vancouver, WA) then made it 2-0 JWU before WPI's Katie Martin (Bedford, NH) got the final batter on a strikeout.

WPI answered with three in the bottom of the frame, going up 3-2. Sydney Russell (Arlington, VA) walked to start the inning, stole second, and was advanced to third on a sac bunt from Alex Sheehan (Marion, MA). Alicia Salvalzo (Hudson, NH) then drove home Russell to make it 2-1. Singles from Kelly Pritchard (Orange, CT), Jocelyn Diaz (Reedley, CA), and Kallie Case (Arlington, VA) followed as the Engineers took a 3-2 lead.

The Wildcats regained the advantage with two runs in the top of the third. A two-out double from Huzi started the rally before a hit by pitch and a walk loaded the bases. Hailey Erickson (Calimesa, CA) then doubled scoring two runs, before a fly-out ended the inning. 

WPI answered, tying the game in the bottom of the frame making it 4-4 after three. Salvalzo was hit by a pitch to open the inning and stole second before a Shaina Lazarus (Thousand Oaks, CA) plated the tying run.

Again the teams traded runs, with JWU scoring in the top of the fourth inning and WPI tying it in the bottom of the fifth. The Wildcats' Meaghan Gurska (Revere, MA) doubled to start the inning and had two runners on with no outs. Martin threw out a runner at home for the first out, but an RBI groundout from Clee made it 5-4.

WPI got an RBI single from Pritchard to make it 5-5 in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with two outs before JWU reliever Sage Borkowski (Oxford, CT) got a fly-out to end the threat. 

Neither team was able to push a run across in the sixth or seventh innings, sending the game to extras. Johnson & Wales threatened with a pair of singles in the top of the eighth, but a pop-up and a strikeout kept the game tied. 

JWU broke the tie in the top of the ninth inning. A one-out bunt single from Clee came around to score on a single to left from Jill Pulek (Cheshire, CT) making it 6-5. A walk put two on with two out before a pop-up limited the damage. 

In the bottom of the ninth, Salvalzo led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Pritchard was hit by a pitch before a wild pitch advanced both runners. Diaz then tied the game on a fielder's choice before Case was hit to load the bases with one out. Ambrosino then worked her walk as the Engineers got their second walk-off win in as many games.

Martin got the victory for WPI, throwing nine innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits to move to 21-5. She finished with 10 strikeouts, her second-highest total this season. 

JWU's Katie Scheid (Hightstown, NJ) got the start for the Wildcats, going 4.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on nine hits with three strikeouts. Borkowski suffered the loss, going 3.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits.