POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – “There’s no place like home.” After 24 road games to start the 2013 season, the Marist Softball team showed its appreciation for the friendly home confines of the Softball Park at Gartland Field with an important doubleheader sweep of the Preseason MAAC favorite, Fairfield to open the home and conference portions of its schedule. After a dramatic 3-2 10th-inning walk-off win in Game One, the Red Foxes came back in Game Two and rode the arm of senior captain Emily Osterhaus (Suwanee, Ga.) for the second straight contest to take the 3-1 win.
On Sunday afternoon, Osterhaus threw back-to-back complete game wins for 17.0 total innings pitched. The senior hurler allowed three runs, though just one was earned, as well as struck out eight Stags on the day.
Offensively, three home runs accounted for four of Marist’s six runs. In Game One, a Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.) long ball put the Red Foxes briefly ahead in the sixth inning. In the second contest, juniors Alyssa Zahka (Lexington, Mass.) and Aly Klemmer (Hamilton, N.J.) contributed a two-run and solo home run, respectively. On the day, the above three players combined to hit .550 (11-20) with five RBIs.
Freshman Kyrsten Van Natta (Maplewood, N.J.) drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning in Game One.
GAME ONE: MARIST 3 – FAIRFIELD 2 (F/10):
The tone for Game One, as well as the whole doubleheader was set early as Osterhaus and Red Foxes went right at the MAAC’s leading hitter Lauren Liseth. One day after reaching base on seven of eight plate appearances versus Niagara, including six walks, Liseth fell victim to a six-pitch strikeout by Osterhaus to start the game.
After a strong start to the game in the top of the first inning, the Red Foxes pushed across the first run of the contest with back-to-back singles by Koltz and Nicole Cheek (Simi Valley, Calif.) and an RBI ground out by Zahka.
Fairfield tied the game up two innings later in the top of the third when Sam Frungillo singled in Nikki Osofsky with a hit to center field. The Stags’ possible second run was gunned down when Maureen Duddy (San Mateo, Calif.) came up with the ball and fired home in enough time to have Zahka apply the tag on Liseth.
Osterhaus and the Red Foxes kept Fairfield’s offense at bay over the next three innings as just two Stags earned hits.
With the score 1-1, Koltz would break the tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a no doubt home run blast deep over the right field wall.
The Stags would take advantage of a Marist error in the top of the seventh inning to re-tie the game at 2-2 and force extra innings.
With their backs against the wall and no room for error, Osterhaus and her defensive-mates stifled the Stags as Fairfield had just 10 hitters see plate appearances in the three frames of extra-inning action.
After nearly scoring the walk-off win in the eighth inning with two hits and a walk, the Red Foxes would finally earn the victory in the 10th when the freshman trio of Duddy, Cheek and Van Natta manufactured a run on three singles, including Van Natta’s game-winner.
For the contest, Marist outhit Fairfield 12-8 on the strength of three-hit games by Koltz (3-4) and Cheek (3-5).
Osterhaus earned the win with 10.0 innings pitched, two runs allowed (zero earned) and five strike outs.
GAME TWO: MARIST 3 – FAIRFIELD 1:
In the second game of the day, the offensive action came fast and furious as each squad registered runs. The Stags opened with two hits and a stolen base before scoring their first run on an RBI ground out.
In the bottom of the frame, Marist responded with the game-tying and go-ahead runs in one swing, as Alyssa Zahka launched a line-drive two-run homer over the right-center field fence.
With a one-run lead, Osterhaus and the Red Foxes bent, but never broke as they would allow runners in every inning of Game Two, but no more runs to score as they held on for the win.
Klemmer added an insurance run for Marist in the bottom of the fourth inning when she got hold of a Lauren Falkanger pitch and deposited it far over the center field wall.
In the 3-1 victory, Marist outhit Fairfield 8-7 with Klemmer (3-3) and Koltz (2-3) leading the way.
In the circle, Osterhaus completed her second game of the day with 7.0 innings pitched and one earned run allowed along with three strikeouts.
For the doubleheader, Marist hit .328 (20-61) with a .369 (24-65) on-base percentage.
Marist improved to 11-15 and 2-0 in the MAAC on the season, while Fairfield fell to 14-14 and 3-3 in the MAAC.
The Red Foxes will take on Lafayette in a home non-conference twinbill on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. First pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 3 p.m.