Johnson (far left), Komornik
CLERMONT, FL -- Senior third baseman Arielle Cooper (Mystic) homered in each game, sophomore Erin Miller (Waterford) earned her first college save and freshman Emily Komornik (Shelton) was credited with her first collegiate win in her first start as the Eastern Connecticut State University fastpitch softball team split two games Saturday for the second straight day at the National Training Center.
Eastern (2-2) downed Union College (0-2), 5-1, in its first morning game, then couldn't complete a comeback later in a 6-4 loss to SUNY New Paltz (2-2).
Cooper's two-out solo home run staked Komornik (1-0) to an early lead before she took the mound against Union. Komornik scattered four hits and allowed only a fifth-inning run in her second collegiate appearance, and Miller pitched the final three innings for her first save.
With Eastern leading 3-0 in the fifth against Union, Miller allowed an RBI single after replacing Komornik, who was lifted after giving up a leadoff double and a subsequent walk. Trailing 6-1, Union loaded the bases with none out in the sixth, but Miller got an infield pop and a double play on a fly ball to junior centerfielder Mattie Brett (Waterford) to end the threat.
Complete-game loser Alyssa Wolejko (0-1) of Union gave up only five hits and didn't walk a batter, but three of the hits went for extra bases. In addition to Cooper's blast, junior second baseman Megan Godwin (Manchester) doubled and scored on senior first baseman Kelly Paterson's (Southington) sacrifice fly to give Eastern a 3-0 lead in the fourth, then tripled in Cooper (infield single) and scored on sophomore rightfielder Shannon Martin's (Wethersfield) infield ground ball to make it 5-1 in the sixth.
Cooper and Godwin both had two hits, scored two runs and drove in a run.
Trailing 6-0 against New Paltz, the Warriors bounced back with two runs in the fifth and two more in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run on base before freshman lefty Katie Rutcofsky came on end the game on a line drive to second base off the bat of Paterson.
Eastern had scored its two fifth-inning runs on a walk and four consecutive singles, and its two in the bottom of the seventh came via Cooper's 26th career home run (two shy of the career record) - a two-run shot which drove in junior leftfielder Stephanie Johnson (Plantsville).
Miller (1-1) was driven from the mound in the third inning when the Hawks moved out to a 6-0 lead by scoring four times on two singles, three walks and a passed ball.
Batting 2-3 in the order, Johnson and Cooper combined for five of Eastern's nine hits and three RBI off senior righty Amber Carozza (1-1). Each also scored a run. The top four hitters in the Eastern lineup netted all but two of Eastern's hits.
After earning the first-game win in a starting role against Union, Komornik kept the Warriors within striking distance against New Paltz by shutting out the Hawks over the final four innings, giving up only two singles and no walks and retiring the final ten batters in order. On the day, Komornik scattered six hits and walked two with a strikeout in eight innings.
Sunday, Eastern faces Fontbonne University at 9 a.m. and Middlebury College at 11 a.m.