Lions outlast Montclair in conference opener

By Miguel Gonzalez
Sports Editor

In its only doubleheader of the week, the softball team cracked plenty of hits.

The Lions defeated Rutgers-University Camden twice in 11-1 and 9-1 victories in Camden, New Jersey on Thursday, April 5.

With a strong pitching performance from freshman Alanna Namit, the Lions cruised by Rutgers in the first game. With second and third base occupied at the top of the third inning, freshman infielder Lauren Conroy hit a single to center field to give the Lions a 2-0 lead.

Platt allows only one hit against Rutgers-Camden. (Miguel Gonzalez / Sports Editor)

The Lions’ bats then flourished at the top of the fourth inning. Junior outfielder Gaby Bennett started off with a single past second base and allowed freshman outfielder Katie Winchock to cross home plate.

Afterward, the team successfully loaded the bases and scored four runs off a walk from senior outfielder Madison Levine and a bases-clearing double by Conroy. Rutgers-Camden’s only run  came in the bottom of the fifth, when Namit walked a batter with the bases loaded. Despite the walk, Namit struck out six batters and only allowed one hit.

Once the Lions transitioned to freshman pitcher Elizabeth Sweet, they added more runs to seal the 11-1 victory. At the top of the sixth, sophomore infielder Megan Mayernik took advantage of the opponent’s shaky infield defense and reached third base off a throwing error. In the next at-bat, Levine hit a long drive to right field to send Mayernik home.

Up 8-1, the Lions were not yet finished. Freshman outfielder Kaitlin Kocinski smacked a double to left field and scored two players.

The team was equally as dominant in the second match as senior pitcher Sam Platt only allowed one hit and one run. Kocinski got the Lions on the scoreboard at the top of the second inning when she blasted a home run over center field.

Rutgers-Camden countered in the next inning when a runner rushed to home plate off a wild pitch. With the game tied at one in the bottom of third, the Lions quickly got into scoring position with runners on second and third. Junior outfielder Gaby Bennett contributed two runs when she cranked a long drive to right field.

The Lions piled in more runs in the top of the fourth. With Conroy on second and Levine on third, Kocinski hit a pop up that Rutgers-Camden failed to catch, allowing Conroy and Levine to sprint through the bases to put the Lions ahead, 5-1.

Bennett later padded the Lions’ lead with an RBI double, and sophomore outfielder Helena Coppola blasted a two-run home run. In the midst, Platt recorded a whopping 11 ground outs.

Junior infielder Francesca Pugliese was impressed by the team’s pitching all around.

“Platt and Namit were great,” Pugliese said. “They were really strong and they know how to adjust to the umpire’s strike zones. Liz always comes in to finish out the win.”   

The Lions look to continue their undefeated start in the New Jersey Athletic Conference when they play a doubleheader against Ramapo College on Saturday, April 14. The first game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Dr. June Walker Field.    

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