All conference, all the time for Lions

With the rest of their regular season consisting of nothing but New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) doubleheaders, the Lions have their work cut out for them.

“We’re a young team and we’ve made a lot of progress, but we need to keep focus on being one of the top six teams in the conference,” head coach Sally Miller said. “Right now, it’s all about conference play.”

The softball team won four, lost one and tied one this week.

The Lions took two different paths to victory against Richard Stockton University.

In game one, the pitchers took charge as sophomore pitcher Ashley Minervini dueled with Stockton’s Kaitlyn Corica in a low-scoring affair.

After two scoreless innings, the Ospreys struck first on a passed ball to make it 1-0. The Lions countered, however, as sophomore infielder Ellen Seavers belted a two-run shot to left center field to make the final score.

Minervini ended up hurling a complete game with nine strikeouts to earn the win.

In the second contest, the Lions focused on offense as sophomore infielder Rachel Greeby scored a run in the first inning on a single. Greeby totaled four hits on the day, and freshman infielder Colleen Cawley added three hits and two RBIs of her own.

Freshman Amy Ullrich cracked a two-run homer in the seventh to top off the scoring for the Lions. It was the first home run of her career.

“Amy can be a really tough hitter,” Miller said. “She’s been making adjustments to college ball with her swing, and I’m not shocked it’s worked out well.”

Freshman Alex Sietsma was on the mound for 3.1 innings of scoreless ball before she got hit with a line drive.

“She’s going to have a nice bruise on her left arm, but she’ll be OK,” Miller said.

Minervini came in relief to notch her second win of the day.

Sietsma fared much better in the first doubleheader, in which she threw a one-hitter in a five-inning victory over Haverford College in game two of the double-dip. She is now 4-2 on the year.

“(Sietsma is) pitching at the level we knew and she knew she could pitch,” Miller said. “Her pitches were really working at Haverford.”

The College’s half of the third inning was its biggest in the 8-0 win, as six Lions crossed the plate in the frame. Cawley had the biggest impact on the afternoon as she plated three of her teammates with a monster triple.

Greeby, Seavers and senior catcher Lauren Musacchia contributed in the blowout with two hits apiece, including Musachhia’s RBI.

Despite the strong offensive effort in the second game, the first was much closer and the Lions ended up on the wrong side of a 5-4 final score.

The game was lost in the final inning as the Lions gave up two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Minervini suffered the loss after going 6.1 innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits while striking out seven.

The Lions are now 15-10 on the campaign, including a 3-2-1 record in the NJAC.

“We’re a good team,” Miller said. “We’ve had a lot of hard-fought close games with tougher teams and a lot of young mistakes. Knowing the talent level we have, I’d expect a better record, but we have learned from those mistakes. We’re going in the right direction.”

On Monday, the Lions won one game and tied the other against the Kean University Cougars. The tie was a dual shutout.

The Lions are scheduled to take the field Saturday as they host Montclair State University for yet another NJAC doubleheader. The first game is slated for a noon start.