March 29, 2008
Fairfield, CT - The Sacred Heart offense broke out for seven runs in game one and freshman Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) allowed just five hits while striking out ten in game two to lead the Pioneers to a doubleheader sweep of Mount St. Mary's Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Park. The Pioneers took the twinbill by scores of 7-4 and 2-0 to win the opening Northeast Conference contests for both teams.
The Pioneer offense started quickly in the first game, jumping on Mount pitcher Jaime Fowler for five runs in the first two innings. Junior Betsy Harvey (Unionville, CT) had the big blow of the first inning, launching a two run homer over the left field fence with two outs to put the Pioneers on top.
Freshman Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) and sophomore Adrian Fitzsimon (Sacramento, CA) started the second inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, junior Jessica Perez (Santa Maria, CA) blasted a double to the gap in left center to score both runners. Senior Melissa Mezzanotte (North Haven, CT) capped the rally with a two out single through the hole to bring home the third run of the inning. A two out throwing error by Mount shortstop Jenna Zimmerman allowed Megan Spehar (Thousand Oaks, CA) to score the Pioneers sixth run in the third inning,
The Mount got on the board with a run in the top of the fifth inning when Kristen Fusco belted a triple to left. SHU got the run back in the bottom of the frame when Fitzsimon belted a run scoring double.
Sacred Heart seemed to be cruising behind the pitching of Spehar, leading 7-1 going into the final inning. However, Spehar struggled to close out the game, giving up three runs in the seventh. She recovered in time though, and got Nicole Reeder, the potential tying run at the plate, to ground out to end the game. Spehar finished the game with nine strikeouts, one shy of her season high.
After allowing four hits in the first two innings of game two, Russell settled down and allowed just three base runners the rest of the game, retiring 11 straight Mount batters from the third inning to the beginning of the seventh. The ten strikeouts were a career high for the Pioneer rookie.
The Pioneers took advantage of four Mount St. Mary's fielding errors to score both their runs. In the second inning McCoy walked and came around to score after a throwing error by Mount shortstop Jenna Zimmerman. In the fifth inning, Perez got on when second baseman Lisa Curreri bobbled a ball and came around to score on an infield single by Harvey with two outs.
The Pioneers host Monmouth in another NEC doubleheader Sunday at Pioneer Park. First pitch is set for 12:00 pm.