DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. (May 7, 2017) – Powered by a complete-game shutout from Most Outstanding Player sophomore McKaily Cusumano (Monroe, Mich./Monroe) and a grand slam from sophomore Kaylee Stevens (Simi Valley, Calif./Royal), the No. 1 seeded Mercy College softball team earned its first-ever ECC Championship with a 7-0 victory over LIU Post in Game Seven of the Championships on Sunday afternoon at Smith Field.
The Mavericks (32-14) secure their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament with the win, while the Pioneers (27-26) fail to win their first championship since 2014.
Mercy dropped Game Six by a score of 7-2, setting up a winner take all final with the winner earning the NCAA Tournament automatic bid. Senior Julie Gross (Port Monmouth, N.J./Middletown North) hit a home-run in the opener and junior Cassidy Wootten (Ardsley, N.Y./Monroe College) drove in a run.
The second game between the two schools turned out to be a historic one for the Mavericks as Cusumano would pitch her way to being named Most Outstanding Player of the Championships with a six-hit shutout.
It was 0-0 after one inning of play before Mercy broke through with the game's first run in the bottom of the second. Wootten singled up the middle and was later moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Destini Bullock (San Diego, Calif./Helix). The Mavericks leading hitter on the season junior Morgan Lloyd (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) then came up with a clutch RBI double to left center that scored Wootten to make it 1-0.
The score stayed at 1-0 heading to the sixth inning when the Pioneers began the inning with a double and a single to put runners on first and third with no outs. Cusumano wouldn't back down and retired the next three batters in order to keep Mercy ahead 1-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
The Mavericks looked to put the game away and would do just that in the bottom of the sixth with six runs on four hits to build a 7-0 lead after six innings. Lloyd recorded an RBI single to bring the score to 2-0 and senior Katiana Golino (Carteret, N.J./Carteret) brought in a run on a hit by pitch to give Mercy a 3-0 lead.
Stevens went on to follow with her biggest hit as a Maverick, with a grand slam to left center field that brought home four runs and gave Mercy a comfortable 7-0 lead.
The seven-run lead would be more than enough for Cusumano who worked around a single to give the Mavericks the program's first-ever ECC Championship over perennial ECC power LIU Post.
Stevens went 1-for-2 with four RBI, while Lloyd went 3-for-3 with two RBI. Golino went 1-for-2 and Wootten went 1-for-2. Cusumano struck out eight and allowed just six hits to earn her ninth win of the season.
Julia Seader went 2-for-3 for the Pioneers and Hannah Olshevski took the loss with an earned run allowed in four innings.
Head Coach Mike Fazio and the Mavericks will now take part in the NCAA Tournament starting on Thursday, May 11-Saturday, May 13th at a site to be determined.