West Long Branch, N.J. – Highlighted by a pair of complete game shutouts from senior pitchers Lauren Sulick and Jordan Barnett, the Monmouth University softball team recorded a doubleheader sweep of Saint Francis University in its Northeast Conference regular season finale on Sunday afternoon, winning game one 6-0 and game two 7-0. With the wins, Monmouth improves to 30-14 overall and 15-5 in the NEC.
“It was a great way to end a regular season, with two wins on Senior Day,” Head Coach Louie Berndt stated after the game. “I was very proud for all the seniors because they’ve contributed for the last four years and actually made the program move forward. I'm excited that everybody had a hand on both wins today.”
In game one, Sulick (11-6) tossed her 14th complete game in a 6-0 win for the Hawks. Sulick, who scattered five singles to the Red Flash, struck out seven, en route to her seventh shutout of the year. Monmouth, which took control with a four-run third inning, scored its first five runs with two outs.
In game two, Barnett (11-4) allowed five singles as well, with four strikeouts, to pick up her ninth complete game and second shutout of the season.
Berndt stated about postseason play, “We'll wait until next week to figure out what's going on. There's no sense trying to play it out because we don't know. We'll wait until Sunday night to figure out what's going on.”
Monmouth posted four runs in the home half of the third, as consecutive singles from Kayleena Flores and Tish Derer and a five-pitch walk to Alicia DeSanto loaded the bases for the Hawks with no outs, before Christine Scherr delivered a two-out, two-run single up the middle and Kate Kuzma drove in a pair with a double to center, giving the Hawks a 4-0 lead.
The Hawks pushed their lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Shannon Fitzgeraled delivered a two-out single to left, plating Scherr, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
Raelynn Galindo laced a pinch-hit, run-scoring single to right field in the bottom of the sixth to increase the Blue and White advantage to 6-0.
In the leadoff spot, Derer went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Scherr and Kuzma each added two hits and two RBI apiece.
Chelsea Rex (6-8) was saddled with the loss for Saint Francis, surrendering six runs on 11 hits in six frames of work, with two strikeouts.
In game two, the Hawks jumped on SFU starter Ketarah DeVries in the first inning as Vanessa Cardoza drove in two with a double to right centerfield, plating both Katie Schumacher and DeSanto, who delivered consecutive one-out singles.
Monmouth pushed across another pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 4-0, as DeSanto led off with a single and Cardoza and Scherr connected on back-to-back triples.
The Red Flash loaded the bases in the sixth frame behind an error, single and walk, but Jordan Barnett got Misty Hammel to fly out to left field to end the threat and maintain the 4-0 lead.
The Hawks opened the home half of the sixth with three consecutive hits, as Kayla Weister led off with a double, went to third on a Flores bunt single and crossed the plate on Derer’s single to center, for the 5-0 edge. With two away, Cardoza ripped a triple into the left field gap, plating Flores and Derer, giving MU a 7-0 advantage.
Cardoza was the offensive hero in game two, going 4-for-4 with five RBI, while DeSanto, Scherr, Weiser and Flores added two hits each as the Hawks pounded out 14 hits overall, including five extra base knocks.
Saint Francis falls to 22-27 overall and 4-12 in conference, as DeVries (15-16) was credited with the loss for the Red Flash, tossing 6.0 innings, with four strikeouts.
Monmouth, which has clinched a spot in the 2013 Northeast Conference Tournament, returns to action in the league’s postseason in two weeks.