OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT LEADS TO SOFTBALL SWEEP OF FDU
TEANECK, N.J. - The Monmouth University softball team ripped 27 hits in a two-game sweep of Garden State Northeast Conference rival Fairleigh Dickinson, Saturday afternoon at FDU Softball Field. The Hawks held on for a 6-5 victory in Game 1, before silencing the Knights, 8-0, in six innings in Game 2. Kaitie Schumacher (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) led the way with five hits, while Kate Kuzma (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck) had a team-best five RBI's. With the sweep, the Hawks improve to 16-14 (7-5 NEC), while the Knights fall to 23-14 (5-7 NEC).
Schumacher went 5-for-8 with a home run, three runs scored and three RBI's, while Kuzma went 3-for-8 with a double, a triple, a home run and five RBI's. Kayla Weiser (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) and Christine Scherr (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth Area) each went 4-for-7 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBI's, while freshmen Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) and Kayleena Flores (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony) added three hits each.
Alissa Schoelkopf (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) picked up the Game 1 victory in the circle, scattering five hits and two walks in the full seven innings. She struck out two. Lauren Sulick (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) earned the Game 2 victory, keeping the Knights off the scoreboard while limiting FDU to three hits and three walks in going the distance. She struck out three.
Weiser got the Hawks on the board first in Game 1 with a solo home run in the second. The lead swelled to 3-0 on the strength of an RBI double from Kuzma and an RBI single from Chelsea Paprocki (Manassas, Va./Forest Park) in the fourth. The Knights got one run back on a Jordan Needle solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, before the Hawks pushed their lead by 6-1 with a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
Cardoza reached on a bunt single to lead off the fifth, before Weiser doubled her in with one out. In the sixth, Alicia DeSanto (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) walked with one out, before Scherr homered to right center to give the Hawks a five-run cushion. The round tripper was Scherr's league-leading ninth of the season.
The Hawks would need every bit of the aforementioned run support, as the Knights struck for four runs in the bottom of the seventh on three hits and two errors. After Schoelkopf got a ground ball for the first out of the inning, Needle reached on a throwing error. Following a second-consecutive error, this time a fielding miscue, FDU had runners on first and second with one out. Bryana Dorado drove in Needle with a double to cut the deficit to 6-2, before a walk loaded the bases.
Following a popout for the second out, Lauren Hamilton singled in the third run. Kirsten Shreve's single to left center plated two more runs to make it 6-5 Monmouth. But on the play, Hamilton committed the cardinal sin of being thrown out at third base for the final out of the inning and the game on a relay from Paprocki to Tish Derer (Philadelphia, Pa./Saint Basil Academy) to Cardoza to extinguish the threat.
In Game 2, Scherr led off the game with a double to right field. She moved to third on Derer's sacrifice bunt, before her run was fully manufactured with the help of Schumacher's single up the middle. The score remained 1-0 Monmouth until the fifth, when the Hawks struck for five more runs.
Scherr once again got things started, this time with a single, and moved to second on a fielding error by the center fielder. Derer once again moved Scherr to third with a sacrifice bunt, before Schumacher again singled her in. Following a Weiser single to put runners on first and second, Kuzma sent a three-run blast over the center field wall to push the Hawks' lead to 5-0. A Cardoza single, followed by Paprocki reaching on an error set the table for DeSanto's RBI infield single with two outs to complete the five-run fifth.
Schumacher then led off the sixth with a home run to center field. Following a Weiser walk, Kuzma tripled down the right field line to stake the Hawks to an 8-0 lead. Sulick then closed the door in the bottom of the sixth to end the game by the eight-run mercy rule.
The Hawks return to non-conference action Wednesday, when they travel to Philadelphia to take on Temple. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 3 p.m.