Seton Hall softball stunned Providence on Saturday, as the Pirates worked from behind to notch two walk-off wins in a doubleheader. The two clutch victories bring the Pirates to 23-24 on the season and 6-7 in Big East play.
Both games started similarly for Seton Hall, with Providence putting up three runs in the first inning. The production in the first half of the double-header came on a three-run home run off a tree behind the left-field pole by Friar Nicole Lundstrom that was called fair by an overturn from the umpire.
The Pirates went down in order the first three innings, but used the fourth inning to make their move to put two runs on the board off three hits by Yasmin Harrell, Alexis Walkden and Noel Lent.
Providence threatened in the seventh, but pitcher Chrisa Head got out No. 3 on a slow swing. If that play and her pitching all game was not big-time, she came out to lead off in the bottom of the seventh and hit a first-pitch bomb over the scoreboard to tie the game at 3-3.
“She was throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes, we were all talking about it,” Head said of the Providence pitcher. “So I just thought swing early in the count, and good thing it was my favorite pitch.”
After following up Head with getting runners on second and third with one out, Valerie Suto hit a pop to center that brought the pinch-runner Brianna Wallace home with not a second to spare for a 4-3 walk-off win.
In the second half of the double-header, going down 3-0 after the first inning, Seton Hall struck hot in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring two runs in each one to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
A diving catch in center by Suto to end Providence’s hopes in the top of the fifth made way for a two-run home run by Walkden to take the lead in a highlight of an inning.
The home run team leader would go on to follow up that out-of-the-parker with an error on an overthrow from third base to first that allowed Providence to tie the game 4-4 in the sixth on a play that should have ended the inning. The Friars followed that up with a run in the top of the seventh.
But Walkden was not done yet.
On a full count in the bottom of the seventh, Walkden ripped a triple to bring Harrell home to tie the game. Walkden was then able to come home off a hit to short by Lent, leading the Pirates to a 6-5 walk-off win.
“We had a couple errors that didn’t go our way,” Walkden said, who leads the team in RBI. “So, going up to the plate, I just wanted to go with the pitch. I knew she was throwing curveballs, and just wanted to hit it hard and get Jazz (Harrell) home.”
Head (6-6) got the win for both games, pitching all seven innings for Game 1 and closing Game 2 on 1/3 innings after subbing in a tough spot for Madison Strunk.
As the softball season starts to wind down, these back-to-back conference walk-off wins provide encouragement to what this team can accomplish.
“My team is awesome,” head coach Paige Smith said. “When you go through up and down spells, you start wondering how good you are, and today it just helped remind them.”
Seton Hall goes for the sweep of Providence on Sunday when the Pirates take on the Friars at noon in South Orange.