Porrini No-Hitter Caps Softball Sweep

Sunday, April 6, 2014
 

Baseball

Heather Porrini

When she woke up this morning, Heather Porrini was still bummed about her pitching performance yesterday, when she lost a shutout with two outs in the seventh and the game on a walkoff home run in the eighth.

“I wanted to get it out of my head, but I couldn’t,” said the junior on the Muhlenberg softball team.

It’s a safe bet to say she’ll have trouble getting her next outing out of her head too, albeit for entirely different reasons.

Porrini tossed the first no-hitter of her life and the 10th in program history, blanking Washington College over five innings as the Mules completed an impressive doubleheader sweep with an 8-0 win. Muhlenberg took the first game, 4-1.

The Shorewomen (18-6, 7-3) won the Centennial Conference championship on Muhlenberg’s field last May and came into the twinbill with a six-game winning streak and in sole possession of first place in the CC. They have been ranked as high as 20th in Division III this season and were still receiving votes in this week’s poll.

The sweep vaulted the Mules (16-4, 8-2) into the top spot in the league standings (tied in the loss column with 6-2 Franklin & Marshall) and capped a week in which they went 4-2 against the other three 2013 CC playoff qualifiers.

Nicole Iannarone Porrini allowed only three runners in her gem – on a hit batter in the first, a fielding error in the second and a leadoff walk in the fourth. Without striking out anyone, she relied on her fielders – including herself. Porrini handled five comebackers, one of which started a 1-6-3 double play in the second.

“It feels really good coming off yesterday’s loss,” said Porrini, shown above working on her masterpiece in front of the sharp new windscreen at Cedarcreek Field. “I just wanted to throw the best I could, and obviously a no-hitter is the best I could!

“I was still really nervous before the game, but once I threw that first pitch I knew it was going to be a good day,” she added.

Porrini said she knew she had the no-hitter going into the last inning, but it didn’t impact her pitching. After getting two hard outs on a liner to third and a ground ball to second, she ended the game with, appropriately, a 1-3 putout.

“It was a team effort. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” she said.

Her teammates provided plenty of run support against a Washington pitcher who came in with a 5-0 record and 2.23 ERA. Senior Kelly Kline singled in a run in the first, and doubles by junior Jaimie Klotz and sophomore Nicole Iannarone made it 2-0 in the second. Iannarone (right) scored later in the inning on an error.

Jaimie Klotz Muhlenberg blew the game open with a five-run third that featured a two-run single by Klotz (left) and a two-run double by junior Alyssa Schell.

Porrini’s no-hitter was the second strong pitching performance of the day against a Washington team that came in with a .341 batting average and had been shut out only once all season, by third-ranked Montclair State. In the opener, junior Kelsey Jones scattered seven hits for her seventh straight win, losing her shutout bid with two outs in the seventh.

Again, the Mules jumped on top early. With one out in the first, senior Erica Wenzel and Kline ripped hard-hit singles, and sophomore Taylor Trifiolis brought them both home with an opposite-field double to the fence.

Trifiolis scored from third on a wild pitch with two outs following an excellent at-bat by senior Colleen O’Donnell, who fouled off several two-strike pitches before drawing a walk.

Muhlenberg added another run in the fourth after an infield popup by sophomore Alexis Giovinazzo landed untouched in the pitching circle. She eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Schell.

After totaling only six runs on 15 hits in their first four games of the week, the Mules regained their hitting form against the defending champs, with 12 runs on 17 hits in the two games.

“I think we caught them off guard,” said Porrini. “We took it to them and started early with the hitting and great defense. That’s what made the difference.”
Click here for line scores.
Click here for complete stats: Game 1 | Game 2