RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Freshman Rachel Shotzbarger (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) hit a grand slam, the first home run of her career, as the Monmouth University softball team defeated Dartmouth, 6-5, Thursday at the University of California Riverside. The Hawks fell in the second game of the day against the host Highlanders, 5-3. With the split, the Hawks move to 7-10, while UCR is now 16-12 and Dartmouth is 7-9.
Justene Reyes (Carson, Calif./Warren), Alicia DeSanto (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) and Raelynn Galindo (Yorba Linda, Calif./Yorba Linda) had three hits each for the Hawks on the day. Reyes scored twice, while Galindo hit a solo home run. Shotzbarger had two hits and four RBI’s, while Jill Freese (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area) added two hits and two RBI’s. Shannon Fitzgerald (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) also chipped in with two hits and a run scored.
Sydney Underhill (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) got the start in the circle in both games, taking both decisions. She allowed seven runs, six earned, on 13 hits and three walks in 10 innings pitched. She struck out three. Breanna Sniffen (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange [St. Petersburg College]) also pitched three innings in relief against UCR, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks.
The Big Green built a four-run lead with a run in the first and three more in the second. After retiring the first two batters, Underhill hit a batter and Katie McEachern made her pay with an RBI double to left center. The Big Green used four singles in the first five batters to begin the second to add three runs. Kristen Rumley drove in Dartmouth’s second run, while Kelsey Miller followed with a two-run single to push the Dartmouth lead to 4-0.
But the Hawks’ offense came alive with a five-run fourth. Fitzgerald walked, DeSanto singled and Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. A Reyes infield single plated the Hawks’ first run of the game, before Shotzbarger hit a towering grand slam to left for her first-career home run, giving the Hawks a 5-4 lead.
Monmouth added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Nikki Sandelier (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township) led off with a pinch hit bunt single and scored on Katie Schumacher’s (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) one-out double to left to push the Hawks’ advantage to 6-4.
The Big Green immediately loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and pushed across a run with a groundout. Underhill then walked the next batter to load the bases with one out, before inducing a 3-2-3 double play to preserve the 6-5 victory.
Against UCR, the Highlanders scored a run in the first when Dionne Anderson singled, stole second and third and scored on a Karina Romero single. The Hawks responded with a run in the top of the second on Galindo’s leadoff homer to left to tie the game at 1-1.
The Highlanders retook the lead in the third on Haley Harris’ RBI double. The lead swelled to 4-1 on back-to-back home runs by Kaylie Atkinson and Ashley Ercolano to rudely welcome Sniffen to the circle in the fourth.
A Reyes double and Shotzbarger single put runners on the corners to lead off the fifth. A groundout to the pitcher moved Shotzbarger up to second before Freese singled to left with two outs to score Reyes. But Shotzbarger was thrown out at the plate on the play to end the inning with the Highlanders still holding a 4-2 edge.
The Highlanders added an insurance run in the sixth on Anderson’s RBI double to left center. The Hawks threatened with two outs in the seventh and Flores scored a run on Freese’s single to right center. But that was all the Hawks could muster as UCR closed out the 5-3 victory.
The Hawks return to action Wednesday, when they travel to intrastate foe Princeton. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.