FAIRFIELD SWEEPS SOFTBALL
FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Senior Kaitie Schumacher (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) and freshman Rachel Shotzbarger (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) each went 4-for-6, but the Monmouth University softball team was swept at Fairfield, 10-2 and 9-8, Sunday afternoon. With the losses, the Hawks fall to 10-15 (2-4 MAAC), while the Stags improve to 13-16 (9-2 MAAC).
Schumacher and Shotzbarger each drove in a run, while the senior scored a run and the freshman hit two doubles. Nikki Sandelier (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township), Justene Reyes (Carson, Calif./Warren), Alicia DeSanto (Upper Darby, Calif./Upper Darby) and Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) added two hits apiece. Cardoza drove in three with a Game 2 home run and scored twice. Sandelier and DeSanto both scored a run and had one RBI, while Reyes scored twice. Jill Freese (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area) homered, drove in two and scored twice.
Sydney Underhill (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) took both losses on the day, the first in a start and the second in relief. She allowed 13 runs, 11 earned, on 16 hits and five walks in 6.2 innings pitched. She struck out two. Breanna Sniffen (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange [St. Petersburg College]) started Game 2 and allowed six earned runs on seven hits and six walks in 5.1 innings pitched.
Fairfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of unearned runs in the 2nd inning of Game 1. Underhill would’ve had a 1-2-3 inning if not for an error. Things spiraled with a walk, a Nicole Capra RBI single and another error that scored the second run.
Monmouth got a run back in the top of the 3rd. Freese singled and Sandelier walked before both base runners moved up on a Shannon Fitzgerald (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) groundout. DeSanto then followed with another groundout to score Freese, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
But Fairfield broke the game open with a five-run 3rd inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out for Lauren Filicia, who singled up the middle to score two. Consecutive walks pushed across the third Stags run of the half inning before a fielder’s choice scored the fourth. Kristen Filicia then singled to plate the fifth run of the inning, giving Fairfield a 7-1 lead.
Monmouth got one more run in the fourth. Reyes was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning before Schumacher singled and Freese walked to load the bases with two outs. Sandelier then singled on the infield to score Reyes. But Fairfield kept the pressure on with two more runs in the bottom of the 4th. Tori Reed and Lauren Filicia contributed RBI singles in the inning to push the Stags’ lead to 9-2. Fairfield ended the game in the 6th when Lauren Filicia doubled with one out and scored on a Lauren Falkanger single up the middle.
In Game 2, the Hawks immediately jumped out in front, 2-0, in the top of the 1st. Cardoza started a two-out rally with a single and went first-to-third on a Reyes single. Shotzbarger plated Cardoza with a double down the left field line, before Schumacher was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the Hawks’ second run.
The Stags immediately responded with three runs in the bottom of the 1st. Following a leadoff single and two, two-out walks, Lauren Filicia and Gianna Kinhofer hit consecutive two-out singles to give Fairfield a 3-2 lead.
Fairfield’s advantage was as short-lived as the Hawks’ first inning advantage, as Cardoza launched a three-run home run in the top of the 2nd. The Stags got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on Lauren Liseth’s two-out RBI triple to right center to cut the Monmouth lead to 6-4.
The Hawks made it five consecutive half innings with a run scored as Schumacher led off the top of the 3rd with a single and Freese rudely greeted Falkanger to the circle with a two-run home run.
Sniffen and Fairfield reliever Nicole Garden both settled down and pitched three scoreless frames apiece, before the Stags broke through for two runs in the bottom of the 6th. Rae Ball walked and was replaced at first on a Kristen Filicia fielder’s choice. Sammy Ruffalo doubled to put runners on second and third to set the table for Liseth’s two-run single. Underhill replaced Sniffen in the circle and induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the 7th, Reed led off with a single and advanced two bases on an error. She then scored when Lauren Filicia struck out on a pitch in the dirt and the Hawks had to complete the out at first base. Kinhofer then singled up the middle and was pinch run for by Brianna Levick. Capra then tied the game with a double to right center. Underhill got a groundout for the second out, but Kristen Felicia singled through the right side to score Capra with the winning run.
The Hawks return to action Tuesday, when they play host to Rutgers. First pitch of the single game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.