By Ryan Connelly
Finally out of its early-season slump, the softball team won three of its last four games, sweeping Lafayette and splitting a series with MAAC opponent, Quinnipiac.
On March 28, Rider took on Lafayette for a doubleheader. In the first game, the Broncs beat the Leopards, 6-2. Rider started the game off with a run in the first inning after freshman pitcher Elyse Cuttic’s RBI single brought senior outfielder Toni Nino home. The Broncs scored another run in the second inning off a home run from freshman shortstop Sam Ward.
Rider was able to hold Lafayette scoreless through four innings. In the top of the fifth, the Broncs tacked on another run from Nino, who stole home on a wild pitch. The Leopards showed a little life in the bottom of the inning, scoring two; however, Rider still had a 3-2 advantage at the end of the fifth. The Broncs fired back in the top of the sixth with two more runs and scored one last time in the top of the seventh, securing their victory.
In the second game, Rider was victorious again, defeating Lafayette, 7-4, in a five-inning game. Junior utility Maddy Chain singled up the middle to bring Nino home and scored the first run of the game. Freshman catcher Keegan Zavodnik reached on a throwing error allowing junior outfielder Amanda Jordan to score. The score was 2-0 with the Broncs ahead after one inning. In the second, Rider stepped it up a notch, recording four more runs off of another RBI from Chain and Zavodnik.
Zavodnik, who was awarded MAAC Rookie of the Week on March 27, said, “It feels nice to see that my hardwork has paid off.”
The Broncs scored another run in the top of the fourth, making the score 7-0 halfway through the inning. It wasn’t until the bottom that the Leopards fought back, recording four runs. Unfortunately for Lafayette, they couldn’t complete the comeback. This was the Broncs second consecutive win making it Rider’s longest win streak this season.
On March 31, Rider had another doubleheader, taking on MAAC rival Quinnipiac. After coming off a two game-win streak, the Broncs had momentum. However, it wasn’t enough to beat Quinnipiac and they ultimately lost 6-1.
Scoreless through the first, Rider was able to hold off Quinnipiac in the top of the second to no runs. In the bottom half, Rider took the lead with Cuttic and scored on a fielding error. After that, it was a pretty slow game until the top of the sixth inning, when the Bobcats scored six runs. The Broncs were not able to retaliate, losing their first MAAC game of the season.
Later that day, the Broncs took on the Bobcats for round two. This time, Rider was not messing around and demolished Quinnipiac, 10-0, in only five innings. Sophomore pitcher Emily Oltman only allowed three hits and four walks, while recording zero earned runs and three strikeouts.
The Broncs scored one run in the first, five in the second and four in the fourth. The leading hitter in this game was Cuttic, going 1-for-2 at the plate and recording two runs and four RBI, including a homerun.
Head Coach Davon Ortega stated, “We haven’t done anything differently [in the last week of practice] but we took all the little things that we need to improve on and we worked a lot on our small game.”
Rider hopes to keep this momentum going on April 5 when it hosts Coppin State at 2:30 p.m.