West Long Branch, NJ – The SHU softball team salvaged a split of a double header at Monmouth University Saturday to open its Northeast Conference schedule. The two games were completely different as the Pioneers lost a 2-1 pitchers duel before earning a 10-6 shootout victory. Nikki Surkes (Brightwaters, NY) finished a combined 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored.
Monmouth (8-7, 1-1 NEC) got the first run of game one in the bottom of the first inning. Tish Derer worked a one out walk and was able to steal second base. Kayla Weiser came through for the Hawks with a two out RBI single to make it 1-0.
Sacred Heart (8-14, 1-1 NEC) was able to level the score line at 1-1 in the top of the third. Freshman Justine Sibthorp (Santa Clarita, CA) ripped a double down the left field line with two outs to score Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) from first base. However, the Hawks were able to regain their slim edge in the bottom half of the third on a Weiser solo homer.
Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) suffered the loss for SHU despite six innings in which she allowed two runs and six hits while striking out six batters. Jordan Barnett picked up the win in the circle for Monmouth with a complete game, allowing four hits and surrendering seven walks.
Sacred Heart took advantage of five Hawk errors in the second game of the double dip to plate ten runs. Kate Nadler (Southbury, CT) was able to score the first run of the contest in the top of the second inning on a Monmouth miscue following a Surkes single. However, Monmouth went back on top, 2-1, with a Kate Kuzma homerun.
The Hawks committed three errors in the top of the fourth as SHU pushed across four runs. Surkes gave the Pioneers a 3-2 lead with a two RBI double. She would later score after a SHU strikeout in which the catcher threw the ball away attempting to complete the play at first base. Sacred Heart increased the advantage to 5-2 as Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD) intentionally got caught between first and second allowing Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA) to come home.
The Pioneers continued to score as Nadler slashed a two run single into center field in the fifth inning to plate Sibthorp and Jessica Schild (East Northport, NY) and make it 7-3, SHU. The Hawks were able to touch up the Pioneer bullpen in the fifth, aided by a SHU error Monmouth was able to close to 7-6 on the strength of three unearned runs.
Tsipouras provided SHU with some breathing room by knocking a RBI single to left field to drive in Sidor. Another Monmouth error would allow the Pioneers to sneak across two more runs and increase its cushion to 10-6. Sidor came out of the bullpen to finish the last two innings of the game and seal the Pioneers victory to earn the double header split.
Freshman Kacie Wentworth (Canton, NY) earned her first collegiate victory with four innings of work, allowing five hits and three runs.
The SHU softball team is scheduled to return to action tomorrow at 12:00 pm at Mount St. Mary's.