The College was on both sides of low-scoring games as the team split a doubleheader in its home opener against Messiah College on Thursday.
Both games were decided by one run with the Falcons taking the first game 2-1 and the Lions taking the second game by the same score.
“You learn from losing ball games and you learn from winning ball games,” head coach Sally Miller said.
The Lions’ lesson from the first game came from the arm of sophomore pitcher Jessica Rhoads as she struck out 15 Lions and only allowed four hits.
“We were trying [against Rhoads],” Miller said. “But we didn’t make the adjustments we needed to until the last couple of innings.”
The Lions ended Rhoads’ bid at a no-hitter in the sixth inning when sophomore outfielder Crystal Lee pushed a shot through the infield.
Lee was driven in two batters later when senior shortstop Ellen Seavers ripped a ball up the middle.
Unfortunately, the Lions got hot a little too late and the Falcons held on to win 2-1.
The late-inning efforts of the Lions were not in vain as the College came out of the dugout swinging in the second game.
“We’re a good hitting team and we make good adjustments,” Miller said.
The Lions wasted no time as freshman infielder Ashley Sogluizzo hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Lee in the first inning.
The Lions would increase their lead to two runs as Sogluizzo was driven in by fellow freshman infielder Kelly Hommen in the bottom of the third inning.
The Falcons offense was grounded for most of the game as sophomore pitcher Lauren Fitzsimmons was perfect through the first five innings and only let up two hits on the day.
The win improved Fitzsimmons’ record to a perfect 6-0 on the season and snapped a 9-game winning streak for the Falcons.
The only blemish on Fitzsimmons’ win was a hit by sophomore outfielder Jaclyn Merkel that brought in one run and lead to a play at the plate.
After sophomore Lauren Seneca scored, pinch runner and freshman second baseman Daniella Pusateri rounded third base with hopes of scoring and tying the game up at two apiece. The Lions had other plans though as a relay of throws from Lee and sophomore third baseman Katelyn Congilose were enough to get Pusateri tagged out just before touching home.
“We had a play similar to that against Muhlenberg and we made an adjustment during the week,” Miller said. “Today we stepped up and did what we needed to do to get that out. It was a huge play.”
The Lions’ next game won’t be any easier as SUNY-Cortland will come to the College for a doubleheader on Saturday March 27.