April 19, 2009
Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) pitched two complete games and earned both wins as the Sacred Heart softball team earned a sweep over Monmouth with wins of 5-4 and 4-3. Amanda Bradley (Langley, BC) drove in the game winning run in the seventh inning in both ends of the double header. The victories put Sacred Heart in control of their own playoff destiny heading into Saturday’s regular season finale with Fairleigh Dickinson.
Monmouth (20-13-1, 8-6 NEC) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in game one with three singles in the first inning. Pioneer starter Russell quickly recovered and struck out the side in the second inning en route to her 11 total K’s in game one. The Pioneers would finally break through against Hawks starter Melissa Mehrer in the fifth inning. Singles from Adrian Fitzsimon (Sacramento, CA) and Alyssa Garza (Santa Clarita, CA) put runners at the corners with one out for Taylor Froelich (Garden Grove, CA). Froelich and Jessica Perez (Santa Maria, CA) would knock back-to-back RBI singles to give the Pioneers the lead. SHU extended its edge to 3-1 after five full innings on the heels of a Monmouth error.
Sacred Heart’s (15-26, 9-7 NEC) Betsy Harvey (Unionville, CT) led off the sixth frame with her third homerun of the season to put SHU on top 4-2. Froelich drew a walk to start the seventh inning and advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt from Perez and a passed ball. Bradley gave the Pioneers an important insurance run with a single up the middle to bring home Froelich and build a 5-2 advantage.
Monmouth sparked a two out rally in the last of the seventh and loaded the bases to put the potential game winning run at the plate. Nichole Alvarez singled up the middle and two Hawks scored but the tying run was cut down at home plate trying to score on a Pioneer miscue. Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) slapped the tag down on a relay throw from Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) to record the final out in a dramatic 5-4 victory for Sacred Heart.
The Hawks again jumped out early as Russell allowed a single, two walks, and a fielder’s choice as SHU trailed 1-0 after the first inning. The Pioneers would get two RBI singles in the fourth, one from Fitzsimon and the other from Jill Timmer (La Mesa, CA) who hit a grand slam in yesterday’s tilt with Mount St. Mary’s. Lee would extend the SHU lead to 3-1 in the fifth on an RBI single of her own to drive in Froelich.
Monmouth was able to tie the game in its half of the fifth with a two-RBI triple from Jessica Nicola that brought the game to 3-3. SHU would pull ahead in the top of the seventh as Perez slammed a one out double and Bradley came to the plate with two down and Perez still at second. The senior captain delivered with a base knock up the middle as the Pioneers took a 4-3 lead. The Hawks would get two runners on in the bottom of the seventh but Russell got a measure of revenge against Nicola who would ground out to end the game.
Russell struck out 15 batters in her 14 innings of work and earned both wins in a double header for the second time this season. The Pioneers will have a busy non-conference homestand taking on Siena Tuesday for two games and Fairfield Wednesday before welcoming the Knights to Pioneer Park for the NEC regular season finale and senior day.