UNION – William Paterson University swept a New Jersey Athletic Conference softball doubleheader from host Kean University in a pair of two-run games on Tuesday afternoon. The Pioneers (18-7-1, 5-3 NJAC) won the opener, 3-1, before completing the sweep with a 4-2 victory over the Cougars (14-10, 3-5 NJAC) in the nightcap.
GAME ONE: Pioneers Win Opener, 3-1
Sophomore right-hander Michele Graham earned the complete game victory, scattering six hits with four strikeouts, to lead the Pioneers to the 3-1 victory.
William Paterson took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when junior catcher Nicole Jimmerson led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a RBI single by junior right-fielder Jillian Mulderig.
The Cougars only managed three hits over the next five innings, before William Paterson added a pair of key insurance runs in the top of the seventh. With two outs, junior second baseman Lindsey Nadolny homered to right field and junior first baseman Jenne Vitale had an RBI double to extend the lead to 3-0.
Kean threatened in the bottom of the seventh, as rookie pinch hitter Colleen Leschinski led off with a double to centerfield. After advancing to third on a fly-out, Leshinski scored when freshman catcher Gabi Ciacciarelli reached on an error. The Cougars had the tying run at the plate, before the Pioneers were able to get out of the inning with a line-out and fly-out to end the game.
Graham improved to 10-6, as she allowed no walks and no earned runs in the game. At the plate, Jimmerson and Mulderig had multi-hit games, as Jimmerson scored once and Mulderig had an RBI.
For the Cougars, six different players recorded hits, with Leshinski finishing 1-of-1 with one run scored and senior second baseman Melissa Dietrich finishing 1-of-2.
On the mound, junior Courtney Smyth fell to 6-6, as she allowed 10 hits and three walks, while striking out six Pioneers.
GAME TWO: William Paterson Scores Twice in Sixth for 4-2 Win
William Paterson broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and held off the Cougars in the top of the seventh to earn the NJAC doubleheader sweep with the 4-2 win.
Tied at 2-2, junior Lindsey Nadolny led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right-center and would score the go-ahead run when she beat the throw home on a RBI fielder’s choice by pitcher Jenna Vitale, who would advance to second on a throwing error to home plate. Catcher Nicole Jimmerson would follow with a RBI single to score freshman Allyson Scerbo, who pinch-ran for Vitale, to extend the lead to 4-2.
The Cougars were able to get the tying runs on base in the top of the seventh inning, when freshman designated player Colleen Leschinski started things off with a two-out single. One batter later, senior pitcher Cassie Shotwell reached on an error to give the Cougars runners on first and second, however Vitale got the game-ending ground-out to improve to 7-1 this season.
The Pioneers scored single runs in the third and fourth innings, with the Cougars responding to tie the game in the top of the fourth on a RBI double by junior Katie Yard and again in the top of the fifth on a RBI single by Leschinski.
Leschinski and junior centerfielder Lindsay Kennedy each had a pair of hits for the Cougars, while Yard was 1-of-2 with a walk.
Shotwell (8-4) suffered the loss on the mound, despite just allowing four hits and one earned run,while striking out five.
For the Pioneers, Nadolny was 2-of-3 with two runs scored. Vitale scattered eight hits and one walk with two strikeouts in the complete game victory.
The Cougars return to action on Thursday, April 15, when they travel to Lebanon Valley College for a non-conference doubleheader at 3 p.m.
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