POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Carrying over the momentum of an important MAAC doubleheader sweep against Fairfield this past weekend, the Marist Softball team put forth a well-rounded team effort on Wednesday afternoon at home versus Lafayette to earn Head Coach Joe Ausanio wins number 99 and 100 of his collegiate coaching career.
Sophomore pitcher Janine Lalli (Eastchester, N.Y.) one-upped teammate Melanie White’s (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) strong Game One performance by tossing a one-hitter in the nightcap. With these efforts in the circle, the Red Foxes were able to earn the 5-2 and 8-0 victories.
Offensively, Aly Klemmer (Hamilton, N.J.) and Nicole Cheek (Simi Valley, Calif.) shared top billing on Wednesday as each player clubbed a home run and registered three RBIs. Freshman Colleen McWilliams (Monrovia, Calif.) and senior Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.) had leading roles in support of Klemmer and Cheek, as McWilliams hit her first career home run and double, while Koltz drove in three RBIs.
GAME 1, MARIST 5 – LAFAYETTE 2: The first game of the twinbill began with both pitchers, Melanie White for Marist and Melissa Robinson for Lafayette in control of their opposition. Through the first three and a half innings neither team was able to connect for more than one hit per frame.
Finally in the bottom of the fourth, the Red Foxes broke through courtesy of the heart of their order. After Koltz lead off with a single to center field, Cheek wore a hit by pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. With a 2-2 count on her, the following batter Alyssa Zahka (Lexington, Mass.), drove a triple to the outfield fence past the Lafayette center fielder to score both of her teammates.
After Lafayette manufactured a run with a designed steal of home/pickle-play at second, the Red Foxes responded with authority in the bottom of the fifth. On the strength of four singles by the first five batters in the inning, the hosts would plate three runs. Koltz’ single to right center scored Haley Birnbaum (Lido Beach, N.Y.) and Taylor Kuzma (Freehold, N.J.), while Cheek’s single through the right side of the infield scored Maureen Duddy (San Mateo, Calif.).
An unearned run by the Leopards in the seventh inning would close the scoring at 5-2.
GAME 2, MARIST 8 – MARIST 0 (F/6): After a strong effort in the circle and timely in the first game of the day, the Red Foxes upped both outputs in Game 2 with a one-hit pitching performance by Lalli and three combined home runs off of the bats of Klemmer, McWilliams and Cheek in an 8-0 run-rule shortened six inning contest.
Marist broke through on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third inning when McWilliams rocketed a double to the left-center field wall to leadoff. After Duddy reached on a dropped fly ball by Lafayette’s left fielder and plated McWilliams, Koltz was up next to drive in a run as she singled to center field. Four batters later, with runners on first and second, Klemmer connected for her second home run of the year with a blast over the right field wall to break the game open and make it 5-0.
Lalli continued her dominance in the circle, retiring Leopard after Leopard on ground balls, though Lafayette finally broke up her no-hit bid with two outs in the top of the fourth. For the game, the sophomore retired 14 of her 18 outs via ground balls.
The Red Foxes would earn the run-rule victory in the bottom of the sixth inning. McWilliams spurred the offense on as she once again registered an extra-base hit, this time it was her first collegiate home run. After a Koltz walk, Cheek came through with the knockout blast as she took a Bryn Gornick offering deep over the right-center field wall for the 8-0 decision.
For the doubleheader, Marist outhit Lafayette .308 (16-52) to .186 (8-43); seven of the Red Foxes’ hits were of the extra-base variety. With Lalli’s line of 6.0 innings pitched, one hit and two strikeouts and White’s of 7.0, seven hits, two runs (one earned) and eight strikeouts the Red Foxes out-pitched Lafayette 0.54 ERA to 5.40 ERA.
The Red Foxes will next be in action with a pair of MAAC doubleheaders in Western New York this weekend; on Saturday they play two games at Canisius (1pm/3 pm) and two at Niagara on Sunday (1 pm/3 pm).