After dropping three conference games in a two-day span, the women’s softball team fell from fourth place to seventh in the MAAC standings.
Rider (11-27 overall, 3-5 MAAC) split a doubleheader against Manhattan after being swept by Marist last weekend in the team’s last home games of the season.
“There’s definitely a confidence in this team,” Head Coach Tricia Carroll said. “We know that we can play. We know we can hit the ball, we know we can play solid defense. We also know that, however good you think are, you still need to go out there and you have to create opportunities.”
In the Broncs’ win over Manhattan (8-25 overall, 3-7 MAAC), the game remained scoreless until the sixth inning when the Broncs took a 1-0 lead on a bases loaded RBI single by senior Aimee Schiller. Rider notched one more run on the board when freshman Amanda Centeno walked with the bases loaded, scoring senior outfielder Tiffany Day-Neutill.
The team ended with a 2-0 victory over Manhattan, with junior Lauren Brunner claiming the win for the Broncs. Brunner pitched seven scoreless innings while scattering five hits throughout the first game of the doubleheader.
“We came out great on Sunday, that first game was a great game,” Carroll said. “We’ve been getting runners on base. Manhattan did a really good job with getting out of jams, and we played well that game.”
In the nightcap, the tables turned as Manhattan’s Melissa Donnelly threw a five-inning complete game with Schiller claiming the only hit for the Broncs. Manhattan ended the day with an 8-0 win over Rider.
Schiller finished the doubleheader with two hits and an RBI while Day-Neutill added one hit to bump her up to the fifth highest Bronc on the all-time career hit list.
“In the second game, it kind of snowballed, like people say: hitting is contagious,” Carroll said of Manhattan’s batters. “We had some good defensive plays but they were just finding the holes, and that happened a couple of times.”
The Broncs were swept in their conference doubleheader the day before in two close matches against MAAC rival Marist (15-22 overall, 2-3 MAAC).
Rider took the initiative and put the first run in the books when Schiller doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch in the second inning.
Going into the bottom of the fourth, the Broncs broke a one-all tie. Freshman Brittany Eckett started off the inning getting hit by a pitch, which Brunner took full advantage of with an RBI single, scoring Eckett to help Rider reclaim its lead.
Marist came back in the seventh after trailing by two, responding with a two-run single with two outs left, finishing 3-2 over Rider.
Brunner took the loss throwing a complete game, scattering seven hits while recording six strikeouts and allowing only two earned runs. She also finished the day with two hits in the doubleheader.
In the second game, both teams came out strong, scoring three runs each in the first inning. For the Broncs, Eckett hit a three-run double, scoring Day-Neutill for the 100th run of her career.
As both teams competed head-to-head, Marist eventually broke the three-all tie in the sixth on an infield hit. Marist added three more insurance runs in the seventh to finish the doubleheader with a 7-3 win over the Broncs.
Sophomore utility player Candice Harris added three hits to the loss while sophomore Derrin Minunni had two hits, including a double, for Rider.
“There’s a lot of parity in the conference, and we know it,” Carroll said. “It’s not like we’re going up against teams like they have to play this one out and do something special. We know we need to play, we know we need to have good at bats, we need to keep our composure and we need to do what we need to do.”
Rider was swept in a non-conference doubleheader against Towson yesterday.
In the opener, Towson broke a scoreless tie in the fifth to commence the scoring, with the Tigers clinching a 4-0 shutout.
In the nightcap, The Broncs took a 3-0 lead before Towson answered with five runs in the fifth inning to overtake Rider 5-3 to put an end to the doubleheader.
The Broncs will continue their conference schedule when they travel to Fairfield for a MAAC doubleheader tomorrow at 1 p.m.