Lions nab third seed, home field for NJAC

With a split of their doubleheader against No. 16 Rowan University, the College locked up the No. 3 seed and a home game at Lions’ Park in the 2009 New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament.

The Lions will host that game against the No. 4 seeded Roadrunners of Ramapo College at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, while the top-seeded Profs of Rowan will host a game at the same time against an opponent yet to be determined.

Game one of the doubleheader went to the Profs 1-0. Rowan senior pitcher Jackie Sasko threw a complete game five-hitter with seven strikeouts.

Junior pitcher Ashley Minervini suffered the tough loss for the Lions, throwing seven innings of four-hit ball. The loss came on an unearned run in the third inning.

“Obviously, it was a tough loss, especially when we battled so hard, but it was a true testament to our team to come back in the second game,” Minervini said.

In the second contest, the Lions turned the tide as they picked up the win by a final of 5-3.

Winning this game with offense, the Lions got it going early. Sophomore first baseman Caitlyn Seamster delivered a two-RBI single in the first inning, scoring freshman left fielder Crystal Lee and senior right fielder Kelly Armstrong for a quick 2-0 lead.

After a solo homerun by the Profs’ Steph Taraschi in the fourth inning cut the lead to one, sophomore hurler Alex Sietsma came in relief and took over on both offense and defense.

Once she shut down the Rowan offense in the fourth when the bases were loaded, Sietsma belted a three-run double to give the College a 5-1 edge. Sietsma picked up the victory despite a complete game, eight-strikeout effort from sophomore Amanda Singer.

The Lions’ sophomore stud also pitched a beautiful game against the in-conference rival Gothic Knights of New Jersey City University (NJCU) on Saturday. Sietsma took a perfect game into the seventh, retiring 18 batters in a row before it was broken up with a single. She was pulled directly thereafter.

Rookie Lauren Fitzsimmons relieved Sietsma and got the save on six pitches after a double play and a strikeout to end the game in favor of the Lions 2-0.

“Alex and Lauren are really talented and deserve all the success they had in the past four games,” Minervini said.

The Lions got the little offense they could muster when Armstrong cracked a two-out RBI double, plating junior center fielder Danielle Hagel. Then, in the fifth inning, Lee added an insurance run on a RBI double.

In the first contest, it was more offense on the part of the visitors, as they Lions rolled 8-1.

Junior shortstop Ellen Seavers led the charge, going 2-3 with three RBIs, including her third homerun of the season.

Seamster and Sietsma also did their part, each going 3-4 with two double, run and RBI apiece.

Minervini picked up the win, improving to 7-9 with a five-hit performance while fanning eight.

With the win, the Lions improve their overall record against NJCU to 24-0, as they have yet to lose a contest against their NJAC rivals.

“It felt great to sweep, especially this late in NJAC play when it’s very important to win out,” Minervini said.

After both double dips, the Lions end the regular season at 23-15 overall and 12-6 in the NJAC.

The Lions look to take the NJAC Tournament by storm, hoping to continue their recent playoff success.