CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Highlighted by a walkoff single by Samantha Slade in the tenth inning, the Charlotte 49ers softball team swept the visiting St. Bonaventure Bonnies in a league doubleheader Saturday afternoon. With the pair of victories, the Niners (22-19; 6-6 Atlantic 10) move to .500 in conference play and surpass the Bonnies (14-16; 4-6 A10) in the Atlantic 10 standings.
After a double by Lorena Vela followed by an intentional walk to Briana Gwaltney, Slade stepped up to the plate and drilled an RBI single to center field. Vela came around to score on the play, giving the 49ers a 5-4 win in the overtime thriller.
Prior to Slade's walkoff, the score had remained tied at 4-4 since the bottom of the seventh inning, when Gwaltney notched her 14th home run of the season, a solo shot to left that sent the game into extra innings.
Charlotte took an early 1-0 lead after a dropped third strike by the Bonnies' catcher allowed the first inning to continue. The 49ers took advantage, as junior first baseman Kalie Lang singled to drive in rookie center fielder Alex Rogers, who had led off the frame with a walk.
St. Bonaventure responded with a run of its own in the third inning and three more in the fifth to capture a 4-1 lead. The Bonnies pieced together three hits in the top of the fifth, including an RBI double by catcher Brooke Frey and run-scoring singles from Hali Enderby and Christine Watson.
A two-run bottom of the fifth kept Charlotte in the game, as Vela and Rogers both came around to score. A pair of walks and a duo of Bonaventure fielding errors with no outs helped the home team along, allowing the Niners to pull within a run, 4-3.
Reliever Katie Watkins picked up the win, tossing the final 2.0 innings of the marathon contest. In a lights out effort, she allowed no hits and no runs, striking out four and walking one. St. Bonaventure's Jen Sansano suffered the loss despite hurling all 9.1 innings. She allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts, but was haunted by seven walks in the game.
Slade had the only multi-hit game for Charlotte, going 2-for-5 with the all-important game-winning RBI. Gwaltney and Lang each drove in a run, as well. Frey led the Bonnies' offense with a 3-for-5 effort with a pair of doubles. Enderby also picked up a trio of hits in game one.
Game two featured a two-hit shutout by Watkins (9-10), who picked up her second victory of the day and first shutout of the season, as the Niners went on to win, 5-0. The sophomore right hander struck out four and walked one in the 7.0 inning effort.
Charlotte put two runs on the board in the third and added three more in the fifth to secure the victory. Vela, Gwaltney and Slade all reached on back-to-back singles to kick off the scoring action in the third, and an error by the Bonnies' shortstop allowed a second run to come across. Rogers highlighted the fifth with a nice piece of hitting down the left field line that pushed designated player Chelsea Ingersoll across the plate.
Shortstop Ashley Snider recorded the only two hits of the game for St. Bonaventure. Rogers and Gwaltney each picked up a pair for the Niners, going 2-for-4.
Diana Phalon (5-8) was charged with the loss, going 5.0 innings and allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits before giving way to Julia Pratt. Pratt pitched the final inning, allowing a hit and a walk.