UNION – The Kean University softball team swept DeSales University in non-conference action on Sunday afternoon, as the Cougars scored the game-winning run in the bottom of eighth inning of the opener and won the nightcap 7-2.
Kean (10-4) rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the opener, before taking control of game two over DeSales (10-8) with a five-run third inning.
GAME ONE: Cougars Score Game-Winner in Bottom of Eighth
Senior Allison Thibault crossed the plate with game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Cougars a 4-3 win in the opener.
Tied at 3-3 after seven innings, the Cougars had runners on first and third after Thibault opened the inning on second base due to the international tiebreaker rules and would move over to third base when senior second baseman Melissa Dietrich reached on an error. A one-out fielder’s choice would load the bases, and Thibault scored when sophomore shortstop Alicia Banz grounded out and the throw home sailed wide.
The Bulldogs took an early lead in the second inning when junior Kate Steiner led off with a walk and senior Kristen Cybularz followed with a homerun to left field for the 2-0 lead.
Kean responded in the bottom of the second inning with three runs, as they scored three runs on three walks, two hits and two Bulldog errors. Junior first baseman Katie Yard had a one-out walk, and after singles by senior pitcher Cassie Shotwell and Thibault loaded the bases, freshman pinch runner Kelsey Hannon scored the first run when the catcher’s throw down to third base couldn’t be handled, as Shotwell and Thibault also advanced to second and third, respectively, on the play. After a fielder’s choice again loaded the bases, rookie right-fielder Katie Schuh and junior left-fielder Lindsay Kennedy had back-to-back RBI walks to take a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the third inning, DeSales tied the game up at 3-3 when sophomore designated player/pitcher Christine Petrilla had a two-out double to left-center, advanced to third on a single by catcher Kristin Schultz and scored on a single by shortstop Katie Steiner.
The Cougars threatened in the sixth inning, as Dietrich and Schuh had back-to-back singles and Kennedy walked to load the bases with one out, however sophomore pitcher Katie Morrissey ended the threat by earning the strike-out and fly-out to get out of the inning.
In the win, Thibault was 1-of-3 with two runs scored, while Schuh was 1-of-4 with one RBI. On the mound, Shotwell (5-2) earned the complete-game win, scattering seven hits and six strikeouts, while only walking one batter.
For DeSales, Petrilla and Schultz each had a pair of hits, while Cybularz was 1-of-4 with two RBI and one run scored. Petrilla suffered the loss in relief, allowing two walks in one and third innings of work.
GAME TWO: Shotwell, Melchionna Drive Kean Past DeSales, 7-2
First baseman Cassie Shotwell and rookie third baseman Courtney Melchionna each homered in the third inning to lead the Cougars to a 7-2 win over DeSales in the nightcap.
After scoreless two and a half innings, junior Lindsay Kennedy led off the third inning with a walk and sophomore shortstop Alicia Banz reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt to put runners on first and second. Following a fly out, Shotwell drove the ball down the left-field line and over the fence to give the Cougars a 3-0 lead.
Freshman catcher Gabi Ciacciarelli followed with a single to left field, and after a pitching change, Melchionna took the first pitch deep to left-center for her first career homerun and the 5-0 Kean lead.
DeSales got on the board in the top of the sixth inning when junior pitcher/first baseman Jen Lococo led off with a solo homerun. The Bulldogs continued to threaten in the inning, loading the bases with a walk to first baseman/pitcher Christine Petrilla and back-to-back singles by junior Kristin Schultz and junior Kate Steiner, however Kean junior Courtney Smyth was able to get out of the inning with a fielder’s choice at home, a strikeout and fly-out to right field to end the threat.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars tacked on two more insurance runs when senior centerfielder Allison Lizzi had a RBI single and Melchionna added an RBI groundout.
The Bulldogs closed out the scoring in the top of the seventh inning, as third baseman Kerri Andrews led off with a single through the left side and would score from second base on a long sacrifice fly to deep centerfield by Lococo.
Smyth (5-2) picked up the complete game victory on the mound, striking out seven, while scattering eight hits and three walks.
At the plate, Ciacciarelli was 3-of-4 and Melchionna was 2-of-3 with three RBI and one run scored.
For DeSales, Lococo was a perfect 3-of-3 with two RBI and one run scored. However, Lococo (4-3) suffered the loss on the mound, allowing three earned runs and six hits in two and a third innings.
The Cougars return to action on Saturday, April 3, when they host Rutgers-Camden in the New Jersey Athletic Conference opener.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!