Strong hitting and continued great pitching lifted the softball team over visiting Salisbury University 10-5 on Sunday in the first game of the doubleheader before dropping a 2-0 decision in the nightcap. The split, following another day victory and night loss against Haverford College, pushed the Lions’ record to 7-2 on the young season.
The common thread in the team’s wins is explosive offense. The Lions scored three times in the bottom of the first inning in the early game against the Sea Gulls. Junior utility player Christina Lizzi got the scoring started with an RBI double and then crossed the plate herself as freshman utility player Danielle Hagel grounded out. Senior center fielder Jen Hughes got on base to set up junior catcher Lauren Musacchia’s RBI base hit.
The Lions added four more runs in the second inning before Sea Gulls junior third baseman Kurisha Hoffman hit a home run in the third inning. Senior right fielder Kristin Boyer belted a home run of her own, a two-run shot to right field, to push the score to 9-1 in the bottom of the third. Boyer’s two hits in the game pushed her career mark over the 100-hit plateau.
Lions senior second baseman Tara Harrigan added a solo shot, her first home run of the season.
The Sea Gulls tried to make a comeback run as they added four runs over the final three innings, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lions offense. Senior pitcher Julianne Lajiness was credited with the win and improved to 4-0 on the season. Freshman Ashley Minervini registered the save.
Harrigan broke up Salisbury’s no-hit bid with a two-out double, but the Lions could not string together enough hits to overcome the 2-0 deficit. The Sea Gulls scored a run in the top of the first and added another in the fourth inning.
“Both games, we had great pitching from Julie (Lajiness) and Ashley (Minervini),” head coach Sally Miller said. “There was no difference in pitching, we just didn’t come out hitting in the second game.”
The College hosted Haverford on Saturday in doubleheader action. The Lions took the first game 6-5 in extra innings before dropping the second game 7-3. After shutting down the Fords in the top of the eighth, Harrigan’s second squeeze bunt of the game scored sophomore outfielder Alaine Boccafola for the win.
The Lions opened the scoring first with a pair of runs in the first inning. Boyer got on base on a walk and crossed the plate on a Lizzi triple. Lizzi came home on a Hughes double to take a 2-0 lead. Musacchia made it a three-run game with a solo home run to left center in the third inning.
Haverford freshman outfielder Cassandra Searls hit a two-run home run in the third and freshman catcher/third baseman Taylor Zavasky singled in a run to lock the game at three.
Harrigan’s squeeze bunt in the fourth inning scored freshman infielder Rachel Greeby for the lead. That did not last as the Fords scored two runs in the fifth inning to take their first lead of the game. Boyer’s RBI double to score Musacchia forced extra innings.
Musacchia finished 4-for-4 in the first game and Minervini pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts to improve to 3-0.
Haverford’s 5-1 advantage in the nightcap was too much to overcome, as the Lions dropped the 7-3 decision. Haverford junior second baseman Allison Frank hit a solo home run to center in the top of the first inning to put the Fords on the scoreboard to start. Hughes singled home Boyer in the bottom of the inning to tie it up, but the Fords opened up the 5-1 lead with two runs each in the second and third innings.
Hughes hit another RBI single in the fourth inning to score Harrigan. Harrigan added a RBI of her own later in the inning, a double to score senior pitcher/infielder Jess Kohut. Haverford plated two more runs in the fifth to seal the game.
Senior Heather Hoffman took the loss on the mound for the Lions.
“The biggest thing in the second game was a defensive breakdown,” Miller said. The Lions recorded three errors in the loss.
“(Haverford is) a scrappy team,” Miller added. “I knew they would hit the ball and attack and that’s exactly what they did.”
The Lions return to action today at 2:30 p.m. when they host Muhlenberg College. They travel to Ursinus College tomorrow for a 3 p.m. contest and open up New Jersey Athletic Conference play at Ramapo College on Saturday at 1 p.m. Drew University comes to town on Sunday at 1 p.m.