UNION – The Kean University softball team split its New Jersey Athletic Conference doubleheader opener with Rutgers-Camden on Saturday afternoon, as the Cougars won the first game, 5-4, and the Scarlet Raptors held on in the second game, 7-6.
The Cougars (11-5, 1-1 NJAC) scored one run in the bottom of the seventh inning for the win in the opener, and had the tying run in scoring position in the nightcap, before the Scarlet Raptors (12-5, 1-1 NJAC) closed out the game to earn the split.
GAME ONE: Yard Drives in Game-Winning Run with Walk-Off Sacrifice Fly
Junior Katie Yard (Hillsborough) drove in left-fielder Lindsay Kennedy (Parsippany) with a fly ball to deep centerfielder in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Cougars a 5-4, come-from-behind victory over Rutgers-Camden in the opener.
Tied at 4-4 entering bottom of the seventh inning, Kennedy (pictured right) led the inning off with a single up the middle. After a sacrifice bunt from shortstop Alicia Banz (Carteret) moved Kennedy over to second base, seniors Allison Lizzi (Cherry Hill) and Cassie Shotwell (Dunellen) had back-to-back walks to load the bases for Yard with one out, who followed with the deep sacrifice fly to score Kennedy.
Rutgers-Camden took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as junior second baseman Brooke Keenan (Mt. Laurel) led off the game with and would eventually score on a wild pitch.
The Cougars scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead when Lizzi doubled to right field to drive in freshman right fielder Katie Schuh (Mount Holly) and Kennedy, who had a single and double, respectively, to lead off the inning.
In the top of the third inning, the Scarlet Raptors took advantage of three doubles to score three runs to regain the lead at 4-2. Senior first baseman Amanda D’Anduono (Lanoka Harbor) doubled down the left-field line to lead off the inning and would score on a single by third baseman Steph Skroski (Stratford) to tie the game. Sophomore centerfielder Beth Speakman (Erial) followed with a double to right-center to score Skroski, and Speakman would come around to score when rookie Lindsay Snajkowski (Pennsville) double to right field.
With the Cougars trailing 4-2, Yard led off the sixth inning with a single and two batters later, senior designated player Alison Thibault (Garfield) slapped the ball past the drawn in outfield for a triple to drive in rookie Sam Gniazdowski (Union), who pinch ran for Yard. Dietrich followed with a single to drive in Thibault to tie the game at 4-4.
Thibault finished 2-of-3 with one RBI and one run scored, while Kennedy was 2-of-4 with two runs scored. As a team, the Cougars had 11 hits from nine different players.
On the mound, Shotwell (6-2) earned the complete game victory, scattering seven hits and four earned runs with five strikeouts.
For Rutgers-Camden, Snajkwoski was 1-of-3 with two RBI, while senior right-hander Ashley Jimenez (Bellmawr) suffered the loss after surrendering 11 hits and five earned runs, while striking out five Cougars.
GAME TWO: Rutgers-Camden Hangs On For 7-6 Win
The Cougars scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning and had the tying run on second base with one out, however Rutgers-Camden freshman right-hander Lindsay Snajkowski forced a fly out and groundout to end the game and earn the split of the doubleheader.
Trailing 7-4 entering the seventh inning, centerfielder Allison Lizzi led off with a double to right-center and first baseman Katie Yard followed with a single to centerfield to put runners on the corners with no outs. After a pop-out, rookie third baseman Courtney Melchionna (Linden) drove in Lizzi with a grounder that was subsequently misplayed, allowing her to reach first base and put runners on first and second base with just one out.
Senior Allison Thibault followed with a RBI single up the middle, to drive in pinch runner Sam Gniazdowski from second base and pull the Cougars to within 7-6. However, Snajkowski forced a fly out to right field and handled the grounder back to the mound to end the game.
The Scarlet Raptors broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning, when they sent 10 batters to the plate for six hits and scored all five of their runs with two outs.
With the bases loaded, Steph Skroski delivered the big hit with a bases-clearing double and centerfielder Beth Speakman and shortstop Christina Tamburrino (Williamstown) each had RBI singles to give Rutgers-Camden a 6-1 lead.
In the top of half of the next inning, the Cougars cut into the lead with three runs to pull within 6-4. Rookie Katie Schuh, junior Lindsay Kennedy and sophomore Alicia Banz opened the inning with three straight singles to load the bases, before Lizzi followed with the fourth straight single to drive in Schuh and Kennedy. Yard followed with a sacrifice fly to right field to drive in Banz from third and pull the Cougars to within a pair of runs.
The Scarlet Raptors took advantage of a Cougar error in the bottom of the sixth inning to score the crucial seventh run of the game, as Skroski scored after doubling down the left field line to lead off the inning.
Skroski was 3-of-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Speakman and Tamburrino were each 2-of-4 with one RBI and one run scored. Snajkowski (6-2) went the distance to earn the win, as she had five strikeouts, while scattering 12 hits and six earned runs.
Schuh, Kennedy, Banz, Lizzi and Thibault each had multi-hit games, as Lizzi drove in two and Schuh scored twice to lead the way.
Junior Courtney Smyth (Abington, Pa.) took the loss to fall to 5-3, as she struck out a season-high nine batters, while scattering 12 hits.
The Cougars return to action on Tuesday, April 6, when they host The College of New Jersey in a NJAC doubleheader. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.
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