POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The Marist softball team (26-22, 16-4 MAAC) heads to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship Tournament tomorrow, as the team looks to defend its 2013 title. After taking sole propriety of the regular season title, the Red Foxes enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed under the leadership of sixth-year Head Coach Joe Ausanio.
Marist will first face off against the fifth-seeded Monmouth Hawks (22-19, 13-8 MAAC) to kick off tournament play.
The Red Foxes finished the regular season with a 26-22 overall record while posting a 16-4 conference record. Marist not only leads the conference in first place, but the team leads the MAAC in four categories. The Red Foxes have posted 245 runs, 223 RBIs, 43 home runs and 78 stolen bases to lead the conference in 2014. Marist also placed second in batting average (.289), second in slug percentage (.443), second in on base percentage (.380), and second in hits (360).
Leading Marist in batting average, junior Taylor Kuzma (Freehold, N.J.) has posted a .386 average over the season, which places her second in the MAAC. Kuzma also leads Marist in slug percentage (.649), on base percentage (.514), and fielding percentage (1.000). Also for Marist, sophomore Maureen Duddy (San Mateo, Calif.) is sixth in the MAAC for batting average (.359), and leads the Red Foxes in triples with two. Sophomore Kyrsten Van Natta (Maplewood, N.J.) has claimed a stellar season for Marist, leading the team in games played and started (48), at bats (141), runs (41), hits (48), home runs (9), RBIs (39), and stolen bases (22). Leading the team with 214 putouts, and notching seven home runs in the regular season, senior Alyssa Zahka (Lexington, Mass.) ended the season with a 10-game hitting streaking compiling 14 hits.
In the pitching circle, junior Melanie White (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) leads Marist with a 2.79 ERA. She has only allowed one earned run in her last four appearance, closing her season with a shutout over Canisius. She has allowed the least amount of runs (30) and earned runs (26), while posting a team-high 55 strikeouts. Senior Paige Lewis (Temecula, Calif.) also posted 55 strikeouts for the Red Foxes, posting an 11-6 record in 2014. Lewis made 21 appearance and 16 starts for Marist, throwing 16 complete games with two shutouts.
Marist will first take on No. 5 Monmouth, who defeated the fourth-seeded Siena 2-1 today. Earier in the season, the Red Foxes split their doubleheader against the Hawks, falling 3-6 in game one, and taking game two 12-1.
Since joining the conference in 1996, the Red Foxes have made seven MAAC Tournament appearances, clinching the title in 2006 and 2013. Last season, Marist defeated Fairfield in the MAAC Championship Finals game. The team moved on to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to No. 1 Oklahoma and Fordham in the first round.
Marist will head to the MAAC Championship Tournament from May 8-11, as the first seed. The Red Foxes open tournament play at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, as their opponent is to be determined.