MERION STATION, Pa. – Shannon Fitzgerald (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) scored the game-winning run in the top of the seventh on a Justene Reyes (Carson, Calif./Warren) squeeze play as the Monmouth University softball team defeated Saint Joseph’s, 4-3, Wednesday afternoon at SJU Softball Field. With the win, Monmouth improves to 8-10 on the season, while Saint Joseph’s fall to 11-11.
Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Valencia) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, while Kayleena Flores (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony) added a single and two RBI’s. Reyes and Rachel Shotzbarger (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) each chipped in with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Sydney Underhill (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) got the start in the circle, allowing three unearned runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings pitched. Breanna Sniffen (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange [St. Petersburg College]) was credited with the win after holding Saint Joseph’s scoreless and hitless in two innings of relief. She allowed just one walk and struck out one.
Monmouth got on the board first with two runs in the top of the second. Reyes and Shotzbarger hit consecutive doubles to lead off the inning before Flores singled home Shotzbarger with the second run. The Hawks would load the bases with no one out, but Saint Joseph’s reliever Anna Lauterbach got two groundouts and a strikeout to strand the three Monmouth base runners.
Monmouth extended the lead to 3-0 in the third. Cardoza and Reyes led off the inning with a single and a walk, respectively, before moving to second and third with one out on a throwing error. Flores then grounded out to second to score Cardoza.
Saint Joseph’s tied the game with three unearned runs in the fourth. A single, an error and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out. The first run scored on a hit-by-pitch, before a two-out RBI single from Madeline Brunck and a bases-loaded walk from Sarah Yoos each scored a run to tie the game at 3-3.
Monmouth scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh, as Fitzgerald led off the inning with a ground ball that took a bad hop on the second baseman, resulting in a base hit. Lauren Howard (Orange, Calif./Foothill) followed with a sacrifice bunt before Cardoza grounded to short. Fitzgerald broke from second, drawing a throw, and made it safely to third to put runners on the corners with one out. Reyes then dropped down a squeeze bunt to score Fitzgerald with the go-ahead run.
The Hawks begin MAAC play Saturday, when they play host to Marist. First pitch from MU Softball Park is scheduled for 1 p.m.