Robert Morris Sweeps Pioneers in NEC Double Dip
Fairfield, CT – The SHU softball team held an early lead in both games but first-place Robert Morris came back to sweep the Pioneers in a double header Friday evening. The Colonials pushed across an unearned run in the ninth inning to win game one, 3-2, before claiming a 6-3 verdict in the nightcap. Freshman Kate Nadler (Southbury, CT) paced SHU with three RBI over the two contests.
Sacred Heart (17-28, 6-10 NEC) started game one strong as Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) leadoff the bottom of the first with a single through the middle of the diamond. Sidor made her way to third after a sacrifice bunt from Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD) followed by a groundout. Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) came through with two outs, hammering a single into left to give Sacred Heart a 1-0 edge. Nadler plated Tsipouras and extended the lead to 2-0 with a triple down the right field line.
Robert Morris (28-18, 12-4 NEC) started its drive in the top of the third when Tess Apke worked a long at-bat into a leadoff double. Apke advanced to third on a ground out but eventually scored on a Cassie Show single. The Colonials leveled it with a two-out triple to right center field off the bat of Jessica Calderone. SHU was able to avoid any further damage as the two sides entered a 2-2 deadlock.
The Colonials nearly grabbed a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Katrina Gallagher ripped a ball against the right center field wall with a runner on first. However, the umpire ruled Gallagher stepped on the plate and she was called out. Robert Morris threatened again in the top of the sixth with two on and two outs but Sidor induced a fly out from Gallagher to keep the contest knotted at 2-2.
Robert Morris would break through with the game winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Gallagher started the frame with a single but Apke would pop up a bunt attempt to give SHU the first out of the inning. A fielder's choice and a walk put runners on first and second with two outs. Show hit a line shot at Justine Sibthrop (Santa Clarita, CA) but after a diving effort the ball ricocheted off the heel off her glove and bounced away. The slow developing play allowed Gallagher to score from first base and give the Colonials a 3-2 lead heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Tsipouras started the inning with a double off the center field fence. However, the Pioneers would be unable to sacrifice her to third. RMU starter Nicole Sleith got the last two batters she faced to round out her nine inning complete game with a 3-2 victory.
Carley Rudloff (Queen Creek, AZ) gave SHU a 1-0 advantage in the first inning of the second contest with an infield RBI single. However, RMU would scratch out three runs in the top of the second, the first coming on a double steal with Gallagher swiping second and Jacki Timko taking home. Gallagher later scored on a wild pitch while Show notched a RBI single to make it 3-1. Robert Morris tacked on three more runs in the third inning to build a 6-1 cushion.
Sacred Heart cut into the deficit in its half of the third as Nadler laced a triple down the right field line that scored both Bowins and Tsipouras. However, the Pioneers would not be able to get any closer as Robert Morris went on to earn the double header sweep. The Colonials won 6-3 after the game was called due to darkness following the sixth inning. Geena Badolato earned the win for the visitors while Sleith came on to pick up the save.
The SHU softball team will return to action tomorrow morning at a new start time. Sacred Heart will now take on Saint Francis (PA) at 11:30 am in a NEC double header in an attempt to avoid the forecasted rain.