Zimmerman’s bat powers Lions to 4-0 week

The College’s softball team dominated round robin action, going 4-0 in defeating the Yellow Jackets of the University of Rochester and the Garnet of Swarthmore College twice each over the weekend to improve to 13-6 on the season.

Coming off a Gold Division Championship at the Seventh Annual East Coast Fastpitch Classic last weekend, the team continued to play at a high level and dominated the competition with an offensive outburst led by senior outfielder Kristen Zimmerman.

On Saturday, the Lions beat the Yellow Jackets 7-1 as they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back. After senior infielder Siobhan Scullin scored on an error, Zimmerman blasted a two-run homer over the right field fence, scoring freshman outfielder Christina Lizzi who had reached on a walk. It was more of the same in Zimmerman’s next at-bat, as she homered again for her second two-run shot of the game. Lizzi once again scored, having reached base on another walk.

Senior pitcher Jess Donohue continued to roll as she tossed a complete game and won her seventh straight, fanning eight and allowing one run on three hits. Zimmerman finished the game perfect at the plate going 3-for-3 with four RBIs, three runs, two homers and a double. Sophomore outfielder Kristin Boyer added an RBI on a pair of hits.

“We worked on a new hitting technique over the off-season that especially focused on hitting for power and extra base hits,” Zimmerman said. “I haven’t been hitting as well as I expect from myself so this weekend was big for me.”

In their closest game all weekend, the Lions picked up the win against Swarthmore College 3-0 as sophomore pitcher Jess Kohut shut down the Garnet batters allowing just one hit while striking out four. Using the outside part of the plate to induce weak contact, Kohut pitched the minimum facing 21 batters.

“I felt in control the whole time,” Kohut said. “They made contact but our defense was really strong.”

The Lions scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the second inning, giving Kohut all the support she would need. After Zimmerman stole home to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead, junior infielder Kelly Quigley singled through the left side to drive in freshman pinch runner Jonna Mahalchik and sophomore outfielder Jen Hughes, who had reached on an infield single. Zimmerman and Hughes each scored a run and went 2-for-3 from the plate.

On Friday, the Lions continued to pile up runs as they dominated Swarthmore College 14-2 in five innings of play. Taking advantage of two Garnet errors in the first inning, the Lions were able to jump to an early 3-0 lead. The runs kept coming as the team tacked on two more in the third, three in the fourth and another in the fifth to secure the victory.

Donohue pitched her fifth complete game of the year to earn her sixth consecutive win. She struck out seven, giving up two runs on six hits. Zimmerman once again led the way for the Lions, going 3-for-4 with three doubles, three RBIs and two runs.

This outstanding hitting was in sync all weekend for a team whose offense has been improving steadily throughout the season. “Coming into this year, I knew in general that we needed to hit with more power,” head coach Sally Miller said. “So in February, we concentrated more on hitting than anything else and it’s really starting to come along.”

Earlier on Friday, the Lions handed the Yellow Jackets another loss by a score of 10-2 in just six innings, putting the eight-run mercy rule into effect after Lizzi drove a home run over the centerfield fence to end the game. The Lions broke the game open with a six-run explosion in the bottom of the second.

Kohut helped her own cause by starting off the inning with a solo shot over the centerfield fence. The Lions continued to string together a series of hits to score five more runs. In the third, junior catcher Kristin Meister blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence scoring sophomore infielder Erin Cusmano who had singled to get on base.

Kohut pitched a fine game going the distance allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Lizzi finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs, a homer and an RBI, while Cusmano and Zimmerman each added a pair of hits including an RBI triple by Zimmerman in the first.

The softball team will hope to stay hot when it hosts Muhlenberg College on Thursday and Kean University on Saturday.