SOFTBALL SWEEPS MOUNT ST. MARY'S, 2-1 AND 7-2
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Kate Kuzma (Freehold, N.J./Colts Neck), Tish Derer (Philadelphia, Pa./Saint Basil Academy), Kaitie Schumacher (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch), and Kayleena Flores (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony) each had three hits as the Monmouth University softball team swept Mount St. Mary's, 2-1 and 7-2, Saturday afternoon at MU Softball Park. With the wins, the Hawks improve to 22-18 (10-8 NEC) and stay alive in the hunt for a Northeast Conference Tournament berth. The Mountaineers fall to 15-32 (6-10 NEC) with the losses.
Derer and Flores had two RBI's each, while Flores also scored a team-high two runs. Christine Scherr (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth Area) also scored twice. Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) also had two hits, while Colleen Kelly (Tallmadge, Ohio/Tallmadge) had the game-tying hit with two outs in the seventh inning of Game 1. Schumacher singled to drive in the game-winning run in the eighth inning of Game 1.
Lauren Sulick (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) went all eight innings of Game 1 to earn the win. She allowed just one earned run on five hits and four walks, while striking out five. Alissa Schoelkopf (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) scattered seven hits and a walk in five innings to earn the Game 2 win. She allowed just two runs, one earned, while striking out two.
The Mountaineers manufactured the first run of Game 1 in the fifth inning. Chloe Mizianty singled to lead off the inning before moving to second and third on a pair of productive groundouts. She then scored on Liz Christiansen's two-out RBI single through the right side.
After going scoreless through 6.2 innings, the Hawks scratched across the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh. Cardoza got things started with a one-out single up the middle. Flores replaced Cardoza at first on a fielder's choice, before moving to second when Kuzma drew a walk. Kelly then pinch hit and delivered the game-winning single up the middle.
In the eighth inning, Scherr's line drive deep to left turned the left fielder around, and the ball squirted out of the webbing of her glove for a two-base error. Derer moved Scherr to third with a sacrifice bunt, before Schumacher singled up the middle to drive in the game-winning run.
The Hawks' offense produced a run in each of the first five innings of Game 2 to make for a seven-inning stretch of scoring going back to Game 1 and stake the Hawks to a 7-2 lead after five innings. After singles from Derer and Schumacher and a Kayla Weiser (Vandergrift, Pa./Kiski Area) walk loaded the bases, Cardoza flew out to right to score Derer. The lead swelled to 2-0 on Kuzma's leadoff home run to left in the second inning.
Monmouth increased its lead to 4-0 in the third. Three singles loaded the bases with two outs before Flores singled up the middle to bring in two runs. Scherr doubled with one out in the fifth, before moving to third on a wild pitch, and scoring on a Derer single down the left field line to make it 5-0 Hawks.
Mount St. Mary's got two runs back in the fifth. Erin Leddy tripled in Alexa Tuck, who'd doubled to lead off the inning. Leddy then scored on a fielding error.
But the Hawks got both runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Flores led off with a single, before scoring on Paprocki's double to left center. After an infield single from Alicia DeSanto (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) put runners on first and second, Scherr grounded out to push the runners to second and third. Derer then grounded out to second, scoring Paprocki.
The Hawks cap the regular season Sunday, when they play a pivotal doubleheader against NEC leader LIU Brooklyn. Monmouth will honor its four-member senior class as part of Senior Day prior to the game. First pitch of the doubleheader is scheduled for 12 p.m. at MU Softball Park.