WORCESTER, Mass. – The Marist Softball team had a hot day swinging the bats on a frigid Tuesday afternoon in Worcester, Mass. With the temperatures hovering in the low 40’s with wind chills in the 30’s, the Red Foxes cruised with a run-rule shortened 8-0 Game One victory and an 8-4 decision in Game Two.
Offensively, freshman Nicole Cheek (Simi Valley, Calif.) led the way with a 5-for-7 showing at the plate with a home run, two doubles and four RBIs. She was one of six Red Foxes, who registered multiple hits versus the Crusaders. As a team, Marist hit .345 (19-55) on the day.
In the circle, sophomore Janine Lalli (Eastchester, N.Y.) threw complete games in both contests, including her second shutout of the season in Game One. In her 12 innings on the day, she struck out nine Holy Cross batters, while allowing four runs (three unearned).
GAME ONE, MARIST 8 – HOLY CROSS 0 (F/5): Marist started out the first game fast as the Red Foxes plated two runs in the top of the first inning off of an RBI single by Cheek and an RBI double by Alyssa Zahka (Lexington, Mass.).
After three quick and quiet frames, the visitors would blow the game open in the top of the fifth inning when they batted around to score six runs. The leadoff hitter, Taylor Kuzma (Freehold, N.J.) got the offense moving with a full-count single to left field; the next batter, Maureen Duddy (San Mateo, Calif.) would drive her in with an RBI double to right-center field. After Duddy scored on a Holy Cross throwing error, the next two Red Foxes, Cheek and Zahka, would be retired to put two outs on the scoreboard. With two outs and just two runs scored, Marist’s fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth hitters would reach on a mixture of three singles and an error to push the final four runs across.
With the score 8-0, Lalli came out into the circle and shut the Crusaders down three-up, three-down to earn the five inning run-rule shorten complete game.
For the game, Marist outhit Holy Cross 9-4, with eight of the team’s nine starters collecting a hit; Kuzma led the team with a 2-for-3 showing.
GAME TWO, MARIST 8 – HOLY CROSS 4: Similar to Game One, the Red Foxes jumped on Holy Cross’ pitching early with three runs in the top of the first inning. With Duddy and Cheek on second and third, Alyssa Zahka drove in the contest’s first run with an infield single to second base. After Cheek scored on a passed ball, freshman Kyrsten Van Natta (Maplewood, N.J.) drove in Zahka with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Down 3-0, the Crusaders plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Marist re-started its offense in the fifth inning when Danielle Koltz (Chenango Bridge, N.Y.) led off the frame with a single to left field. The next batter, Cheek doubled in Koltz to make it a 4-2 game. Seniors Sarah Carmody (Camarillo, Calif.) and Christina Lausch (Lancaster, Pa.) drove in Cheek and Zahka for the game’s fifth and sixth runs.
The Red Foxes expanded their fou- run lead of 6-2 out to 8-2 on the strength of a Cheek two-run home run in the top of the sixth.
Holy Cross tightened the game up slightly with single runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings to make it an 8-4 final.
For the game, Marist and Holy Cross tied with 10 hits a piece. Cheek led the Red Foxes with a perfect 4-for-4 effort; she added three runs scored and three RBIs. Lausch (2-3) and Koltz (2-4) joined the freshman as Red Foxes with multiple hits.
Lalli won her second game of the day with a complete seven innings pitched and a season-high seven strikeouts; she improved her record to 6-3 on the year
With these two wins, the Red Foxes evened their record on the year at 21-21.
Marist will next be in action on the weekend as it plays a pair of road doubleheaders at Manhattan on Apr. 27 and Saint Peter’s on Apr. 28.