The Lions put up a fight but fell twice at home to the 16th-ranked Red Hawks of Montclair State University, finishing their seven-game win streak in the process.
“We played really well during the streak,” head coach Sally Miller said. “This team knows what they’re capable of collectively and we were confident going up against Montclair, but we just didn’t get the key hit.”
“We certainly battled and fought,” she added.
Game one saw an exciting finish, as the Red Hawks squeaked by, 4-3, in an eight-inning thriller. The final run was scored in the top of the frame as sophomore pitcher Ashley Minervini threw a wild pitch that sent the go-ahead run home.
“It wasn’t the ideal circumstance, but stuff happens in a game like that,” Minervini said. “It’s how you bounce back from that is what matters.”
The game went back and forth as the Red Hawks scored two early runs before the Lions made it a one-run game in the bottom of the fourth on back-to-back doubles by senior infielder/outfielder Christina Lizzi and sophomore outfielder Danielle Hagel.
After Montclair added another run on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded, the Lions pulled to within one run in the same inning as sophomore infielder Rachel Greeby knocked in freshman outfielder Steph Cintron on a groundout.
As the game moved to the seventh, junior catcher Kelly Armstrong helped the Lions play on as she singled in the third College run to send the game into extra innings.
“It was exciting to watch and coach,” Miller said. “This team doesn’t give up, and I did feel momentum in our favor, but (Montclair) just took advantage.”
In the second contest, the result was identical and just as exciting, as the Lions once again fell just short in a 4-3 loss.
The College struck first this time around as Armstrong cracked an RBI single in the top half of the first inning that put the team up 1-0.
The Red Hawks tallied two runs in the bottom of the second inning to take the 2-1 lead. The runs ended freshman pitcher Alex Sietsma’s scoreless streak at 32.2 innings.
After trading runs again in the third frame, the drama picked up in the seventh inning as sophomore infielder Ellen Seavers belted a solo homer in the top half of the inning to knot the score at 3.
Montclair ended the game on an RBI single off of Sietsma to pick up their second victory of the day.
With the two losses, the Lions stand at 18-12 overall and are 6-4 in the tightly contested New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) for a No. 5 ranking. The Red Hawks lead the conference with a perfect 10-0 record.
“We’re still sitting well in the conference,” Miller said. “We have four sets of games left and a lot of work to do.”
The College’s next doubleheader comes on Saturday as they play host to NJAC-opponent New Jersey City University at at 1 p.m.