Oneonta State junior Brianna Rivera proved Friday that it only takes one swing to make a difference.
Rivera singled in the winning run with two out on a two-strike pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning as the host Red Dragons edged Geneseo, 5-4, in the second round of the SUNY Athletic Conference Softball Tournament.
Top-seeded O-State (27-9) will face Brockport at 11 a.m. Saturday in the winners’ bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Third-seeded Brockport also improved to 2-0 in the tournament with a 7-4 victory over No. 2 seed Cortland on Friday at Oneonta State.
Cortland will play the Oneonta-Brockport loser at 1 p.m. Saturday. The winners of Saturday’s first two games will play for the championship at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Should a second championship game be necessary, the same teams will meet again at noon Sunday.
O-State entered the last of the ninth facing a 4-3 deficit. Geneseo (18-16) got the first two outs before freshman Jenn Brocco singled down the right-field line. Traci Lichtenstein then singled and Marlene Cuevas walked to load the bases for the Red Dragons, who tied it on a passed ball. Rivera then ended it with an RBI single up the middle.
“What a great game for both teams,” O-State coach Sara Headley said in a media release prepared by the college. “I am so proud of Oneonta for staying mentally focused and coming through in the clutch. It was a fantastic team effort.”
Oneonta sophomore Jamie Whittam opened the scoring with a home run to left field in the first inning, which also featured an RBI single by Kelly Graham. Whittam also tripled in Meghan Foster in the fourth inning to give Oneonta a 3-0 lead.
The Blue Knights tied it with three runs in the sixth off starting pitcher Sabrina DeAngelis, who gave up a two-run double to losing pitcher Mikayla Moore and an RBI double to pinch-hitter Courtney Budynas.