Home Runs & Strong Pitching Lead Marist To Day 1 Sweep At Dawg Pound Invitational
BALTIMORE, Md. - Two days of weather delays and rescheduling was no match for the Red Foxes in their first day of action at UMBC's Dawg Pound Invitational on Sunday. In complete team efforts, the Marist softball earned an 8-2 win over Coppin State and a 7-0 shutout over Rhode Island in the nightcap. The combination four home runs, including two by Haley Birnbaum (Lido Beach, N.Y.) and just one earned run allowed by the pitching duo of Emily Osterhaus (Suwanee, Ga.) and Paige Lewis (Temecula, Calif.) led the Red Foxes on Sunday.
GAME 1, MARIST 8 - COPPIN STATE 2:
The Red Foxes' potent offense was on display from the team's first at bat on Saturday as they would manufacture two runs in the first inning on their way to a wire-to-wire 8-2 win over Coppin State.
After surrending a single run in the bottom of the first, the Red Foxes would respond with a solo run of their own in the top of the second inning when sophomore Taylor Kuzma (Freehold, N.J.), who entered the game as a pinch runner for Sarah Carmody (Camarillo, Calif.) scored on a Maureen Duddy (San Mateo, Calif.) sacrifice fly.
Junior pitcher Paige Lewis locked in after her first inning blemish and retired the Eagles in order in the second and third innings and only permitted a single in the fourth. This dominance in the circle would allow Marist to break the game open in the top of the fifth inning.
With the score 3-1, the Red Foxes would plate four runs to make it a 7-1 contest. Cheek led off the inning with a double to right-center field. One batter later, Zahka would drive her in with a home run over the left-center field wall. Senior Christina Lausch (Lancaster, Pa.) continued her hot start to the season with a single up the middle as the next batter. Junior Aly Klemmer (Hamilton, N.J.) made it four hits in the first four at bats of the inning as she doubled in Lausch. Two batters later, Klemmer would Marist's final score on an RBI single by freshman Kyrsten Van Natta (Maplewood, N.J.).
Game One's scoring would finalize at 8-2 after the Eagles and Red Foxes traded runs in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth; Klemmer drove in Marist's run on a sac fly.
Lewis would close out her second consecutive complete game with scoreless frames versus the Eagles in the sixth and seventh innings.
For the game, eight Red Foxes registered 10 hits.
Lewis finished with a complete game, five-hitter as she improved to 2-0 on the season. Her final pitching line was 7.0 innings pitched, two runs allowed (one earned) and five strikeouts.
GAME 2: MARIST 7 - RHODE ISLAND 0:
The Red Foxes kept up their hot swinging in the second game of the day by immediately placing a three-spot on the scoreboard versus Rhode Island in the top of the first inning. Van Natta scored Marist's first run as the front-end of a double steal with Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.). After the steal, Cheek drove in Koltz with her first career home run.
Marist would extend its lead to 4-0 in the second inning when Birnbaum led off with a home run over the center field wall.
After a quiet third frame, the Red Foxes would plate two runs in the top of the fourth inning. Birnbaum would be the run producer once again as the junior cranked a home run to left field to drive in Janine Lalli (Eastchester, N.Y.). With these two home runs on the day, Birnbaum has hit 15 in her two-plus seasons with Marist.
Osterhaus controlled the Rams throughout the contest, not allowing more than one hit in any of the first six innings.
With Rhode Island's bats silenced by the senior hurler, the Red Foxes notched the final run of the game in the top of the sixth when Van Natta singled home Birnbaum.
For the contest, Marist outhit Rhode Island 8-6. Van Natta led the way with three base hits. Birnbaum finished the game with two hits, two home runs, three runs scored and three RBIs.
In the circle, Osterhaus threw a complete game six-hit shutout with seven strikeouts.
For the doubleheader, Marist hit .300 (18-60) and had a .371 (26-70) on-base percentage. Van Natta posted the highest batting average at .667 (4-6). Birnbaum, Cheek and Zahka all finished the day with three RBIs.
Lewis and Osterhaus combined for a 0.50 ERA (1 ER) and 12 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched.
Marist will close out its action at the UMBC Dawg Pound Invitational on Monday with games versus Rhode Island (11:15 am) and UMBC (1:30 pm).