By Miguel Gonzalez
The Lions dominated their opponents during the past week with back-to-back doubleheader sweeps. On Wednesday, March 30, the Lions defeated the Cabrini College Cavaliers in a close 5-4 matchup and followed up with a 15-1 victory. During the weekend on Saturday, April 2, the Lions beat New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opponent William Paterson University Pioneers, with 4-2 and 3-1 victories.
Looking to brush aside their home opener losses, the Lions claimed a 5-4, close victory against the Cavaliers. Senior pitcher Katie Hourihan endured a shaky start in the first inning as she walked three batters, allowing the Cavaliers to score two unearned runs. In the top of the fourth, the Cavaliers extended their lead to four when junior outfielder Amber Dietrich and senior shortstop Kaitlyn Cooper scored individual runs off of Lions throwing errors.
The Lions then snatched the win in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down, 4-3, senior infielder Steph Vuono landed on home plate from a single. With two outs, bases loaded and the score tied, sophomore outfielder Madison Levine hit a clutch single to send senior outfielder Kristen Fitzsimmons home for the game-winning-run. The Lions then proceeded to dismiss the Cavaliers in an ousting 15-1 victory next game. The Lions’s offense highlighted the match with a whopping 12 hits. Junior infielder Colleen Phelan led the offense with three runs batted in (RBI). Meanwhile, Lions ace sophomore pitcher Sam Platt picked up her seventh victory of the season by holding the Cavaliers to three hits and striking out six.
“We win as a team and lose as a team. These past few sweeps would not have been possible if everyone did not contribute,” senior infielder Deanna Utter said.
On Saturday, April 2, the Lions competed against their first NJAC opponent of the season, the William Paterson Pioneers with 4-2 and 3-1 wins. Similar to their last matchup, the Lions conceded two runs in the first inning off of throwing errors. Despite the rocky start, pitcher Katie Hourihan set the tone by hurling six scoreless innings and permitting three hits. The Lions tied the score at two when Utter and Vuono scored off a single.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Lions gained a 4-2 lead when sophomore outfielder Madison Levine and freshman outfielder Gaby Bennett both scored off a double from senior catcher Jamie Purcell. Afterward, senior pitcher Ashtin Helmer sealed the victory.
The Lions followed up with a 3-1, low-scoring victory. In a pitcher’s duel, the Pioneers and Lions’s sophomore pitcher Sam Platt withheld each other’s offenses. The Lions marked the scoreboard first when Bennett scored off of Levine’s single. The Lions later extended their lead to three when Bennett scored again on a single from Purcell. In the midst, Sam Platt pitched six scoreless innings while only conceding five hits on her way to her eighth win on the season.
As of Saturday, April 2, the Lions currently have a 15-8 record and Bennett leads the Lions’s offense with 25 hits and a .397 batting average. On the mound, Platt leads the pitching staff with an 8-2 record.
The Lions hit south of the Garden State Parkway to Glassboro, N.J., for a doubleheader against the 17-5 Rowan University Owls on Tuesday. The Owls are currently in a 12 game winning streak.
“We have to stay within ourselves and prepare our game. To compete against the Profs, we are going to have to play the game we are capable of playing and come out hungry for both games,” Utter said.
Later on Saturday, April 9, the Lions compete against the New Jersey City University Gothic Knights in a doubleheader.