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Rebecca Freeman propels Marist to three wins in Georgia roadtrip

As a player, sometimes you have a good performance, sometimes you have a great performance, and sometimes you have a flat out legendary performance.

That’s exactly what Marist senior catcher Rebecca Freeman had this weekend. Like all great performers, she saved her finest moments for last.

But before we can get to that, we have to start at game one of five for the Red Foxes, as they competed in the Black and Orange Challenge in Macon, Georgia against Mercer, Fort Wayne and Savannah State.

The first contest against the Mercer Bears on Friday night would prove to be the hardest for the Foxes.

Marist looked to get the ball rolling early on, loading the bases in the top of the first inning, but Mercer’s starting pitcher Megan Biligri would get Gabrielle Kelliher to fly out to right to halt the early rally.

The Bears would quickly take advantage, tacking on two runs in the bottom of the first off Jayne Oberdorf on a two run double by Quirisa Mauga to left field, bringing in Taylor Miller and Megan Lane.

Mercer would soon tack on an extra run in the 3rd inning after back to back errors by Oberdorf and third basemen Brittney Colombo eventually lead to Maxine Rodriguez bringing in Lane from third on an RBI groundout.

The Bears would add two more runs in the next inning on an unusual double steal where Danielle Castleberry was thrown out at second by Freeman, but Abby Walsh was able to steal home after the throw, and a wild pitch thrown by Oberdorf which allowed Meghan Rud to score from third.

The Red Foxes offense finally showed life in the top of the 5th, as with two outs Rebecca Freeman ripped a single to right, but was able to advance all the way to third on a throwing error by right fielder Walsh who just came into the game replacing Shaila Warren. Janna Korak would single to right, bringing in the first run of the game for Marist.

It was Kelliher’s turn at the plate once again, but this time she got the better of Kiligri, smashing a two run home run to center field, cutting the deficit to just two.

But the Bears would hold down the game from there, getting extra insurance from Lane who rocketed a solo shot to right field off Georgia native Kalleese Lassenburg, extending the lead to three. Marist’s offense could not rally from there, losing their first game of the weekend by a score of 6 to 3.

Whatever Offensive struggles Marist had on Friday were quickly forgotten as Saturday came around, with the Foxes putting up a high amount of offense in both games.

The first game against the winless Fort Wayne Mastodon’s started off just the way Marist wanted, as they put up three first inning runs on an RBI single by Freeman, an RBI sac fly by Kelliher, and an RBI double to right center by Ali Milliam, padding Marist’s early lead to three.

From there it was Marist starting pitcher Megan Beirmeister’s time to shine, as she gave up just one run and six hits over 5 innings of work.

The Foxes would boost the lead in the bottom of the 4th inning on an RBI single by Brittney Colombo, who would eventually score on a fielding error by Fort Wayne first baseman Kelly Pevely, as Marist would go up by 5.

Fort Wayne’s lone run of the game would come on a sacrifice fly to right field by Caitlyn Delong in the 6th inning, but Marist would respond quickly as Janna Korak would bring in two more runs on a double to left center, piling on the deficit to 6.

Marist would hold on to the game from there after two solid shutout innings out of the bullpen from Brooke Peterson and Oberdorf, winning by a score of 7 to 1.

With game 2 on the day starting immediately after against Savannah State, you would think the Marist offense would falter a bit.

You’d be sadly mistaken.

The Red Foxes came out the gate as hot as they could be, putting up 5 first inning runs.

Marist would only take three batters to load the bases, and once again Korak would come through when needed, chipping another double down the left field line, bringing in two runs. Milliam would one up Korak in her at bat, blasting a three run home run to left field.

Marist wasn’t quite done with the offensive outburst just yet, as Freeman would bring in the Foxes other Georgia native Casey Page in from third on an RBI Sac Fly to left in the 2nd inning, and then bringing in two more runs on an two run single up the middle by Page in the 3rd inning, pushing the lead to eight.

That was plenty of runs for Jessica Van Alphen, who shut down the Tigers over 5 innings of work, giving up just three hits and striking out four.

She only pitched 5 innings because Marist would add two more runs in the top of the 5th on RBI singles by Jade Sinskul and Freeman, riling up the lead to double digits, as the mercy rule would come into effect with Marist easily shutting down Savannah State by a score of 10 to 0.

Unfortunately for the Foxes, the offensive exhaustion would hit them real hard in game 4 over the weekend, a rematch against Fort Wayne. As Marist would only muster three total hits throughout the game.

Oddly enough, that is the same amount of hits Fort Wayne could muster. As this game was by all accounts a pitching duel between Leeseburg and the Mustang’s starter Olivia White. Leeseburg struck out three over 6.2 innings of work, while White struck out 4.

Neither pitcher faltered in any way, until the bottom of the 7th, when Leeseburg walked Palmegani on four pitches, she would be replaced by pinch runner Courtney Holm, Holm would then advance to second on a wild pitch, as Delong, the lone run for the Mustang’s in the first game against Marist, would once again represent the lone run for the Mustang’s in this game poking a game winning single down the left field line as Holm would easily score from second, as Marist would lose in heartbreaking fashion to Fort Wayne by a score of 1 to 0.

Okay, you’ve been very patient. Now sit back and enjoy today’s telling of the legend of Rebecca Freeman.

As you remember, Marist handled Savannah State pretty easily in their first matchup against them over the weekend, well clearly Marist wasn’t prepared for the Savannah State team that would face off against them on Sunday afternoon.

The Tigers were looking to put up a mercy rule caliber game of their own, toppling Marist starter Brooke Peterson for five first inning runs, as Peterson could only muster two outs before being pulled. The first run coming on an RBI single by Brianna Harris past the shortstop to bring in Alexis Singleton. After Chelsea Malcolm would get hit by a pitch to load the bases, Amanda McDowell would scorch a two run double to right center, extending the lead to three. Tia Bolden would then foul out to right field, bringing in Malcolm from third. Then Drea Lesure would knock single a single to center field bringing in McDowell and putting Marist in a tough situation to come back from.

But the Foxes would start to climb back up fairly quickly, as after a single to left by Miranda Perez, Freeman would launch her first home run of the game down the left field line, cutting the deficit to three.

After a pair of scoreless innings, Marist would once again work to cut down the deficit in the 3rd inning, as Freeman would draw a walk and Korak would single up the middle. Freeman would eventually be brought home on an RBI sac fly to right by Kourtney Paul. Amanda Sartori would then single down the left field line, bringing in Korak and stifling the Tiger lead to just one. With Milam on third, Madison Lee would drive a single past the shortstop Lesure to tie up the game at 5.

The Tigers would not take too kindly to this threat, putting up two runs of their own in the top of the 4th off reliever Oberdorf, on RBI triples to right by Singleton and Harris. This would put Savannah State in the lead by two runs.

But the Foxes said, “Anything you can do, I can do better,” as Coon would single to right and Perez would reach first on a bunt to lead off the inning.

Then Freeman would come to the plate, and with the count in her favor, Freeman would rope a three run blast to center field to take back the lead for the Foxes at a score of 8 to 7.

But the Tigers offense would keep on trucking, as they would add two more runs in the top of the 5th on an RBI groundout by Lesure, and Alysha Bolling would score on a throwing error by Freeman.

Freeman would quickly shake off her mistake, once again coming through in the clutch for the Foxes at the plate, knocking in two more runs a single to right to pull the lead right back to Marist at 10 to 9.

Savannah State would run up the score even further, as an RBI double by Malcolm down the left field line would tie the game up at 10.

A solid 1.2 innings out of the bullpen by Beirmeister would keep the game tied going into the bottom of the 7th.

The inning would start off in typical Marist small ball fashion as Page and Coon would both reach on singles past the Tiger’s pitcher Malcolm, and Perez would reach on a fielder’s choice in which no outs were recorded.

So with just one out, the bases loaded, and the win just 90 feet away, who do you think is coming up to the plate?

If you thought anyone but Rebecca Freeman, you clearly don’t understand how sports magic works.

And it only took one pitch.

As Freeman would take the first pitch of the at-bat deep to left field and over the wall for a walk off grand slam as Marist would win a spectacular shootout of a game by a score of 14 to 10.

In just one game, Freeman went 4 for 4, with three home runs and 11 RBIs, which ties the NCAA single game record for RBIs in a game.

Over the entire weekend, Freeman had 11 hits and 14 RBIs in a five-game span.

To put that in perspective, Freeman only had 6 more home runs and 22 more RBIs over the entirety of last season.

Freeman and the Foxes look to keep their offensive prowess in tact in the UMBC Tournament this weekend in Baltimore, first game against UMBC starts at noon on Saturday.

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