By Ryan Connelly
After a three-game winning streak, the softball team fell back into a slump after losing four straight games in the past week.
Rider beat Quinnipiac last week, then went on to sweep Coppin State in a two-game non-conference series.
Following a MAAC loss to Iona on April 8, Head Coach Davon Ortega said the offense needs to improve.
“Yet again we had great pitching performances that kept us in each game, but our offense still struggled to produce,’’ she said. “We’re staying positive and will continue to fight and get better each day.”
On April 5, the Broncs defeated the Eagles, 7-3. Sophomore infielder Rachael Zeides fired things up with a triple to right field, which brought home senior infielder Monica Clark. Freshman third baseman Payton Romines hit a single to left field; Zeides scored making it 2-0, Broncs, through two innings.
In the bottom of the third, freshman shortstop Sam Ward hit a home run to center field, extending Rider’s lead 3-0. The Broncs were able to hold the Eagles to zero runs until the top of the fifth; Rider still had a 3-1 advantage through five.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Broncs scored four runs to secure the victory over Coppin State.
The Broncs faced the Eagles for the second time that day, beating them again, 11-3, in five innings. In the first inning, senior outfielder Toni Nino scored on a throwing error, giving Rider the 1-0 advantage.
In the second inning, the Broncs continued to keep the bats hot, extending their lead 3-0 with two RBI from junior catcher Kiera Swank and sophomore first baseman Gabby Bram.
In the top of the third, the Eagles decided they weren’t going down without a fight, matching Rider’s three runs. In the bottom of the third, the Broncs answered with three more runs, gaining the offensive advantage, 6-3.
There was no action until the bottom of the fifth when Rider went on an absolute tear, scoring five more runs to beat the Eagles by mercy rule.
After they swept Coppin State, the Broncs suffered four crucial conference losses.
On April 6, the Broncs took on the Hawks in a doubleheader. They lost the first game, 3-0, and the second, 7-4. In game one, the Broncs played solid defense, only allowing three runs. However, they couldn’t get anything going on offense, recording eight hits and leaving six players on base. In the second game, Monmouth got off to fast start, scoring four runs in the first, leaving Rider unable to catch up.
On April 8, Rider played a doubleheader against Iona. Iona beat Rider, 2-1, through nine innings in the earlier game. In the second game, the Broncs lost, 4-2.
“We are right there with some very good teams, losing by only one run,” said sophomore catcher Shelby Miller.
Rider looks to break its four-game losing streak in a doubleheader at Wagner on April 11 at 2 p.m.