By Dylan Manfre
Following a split series against St. Peter’s and a doubleheader vs. Manhattan, the softball team was in desperate need for a win as it hosted Fairleigh Dickinson on April 17 and traveled to Quinnipiac on April 23.
The Broncs had defeated the Knights in their previous seven meetings dating back to 2010. Fairleigh Dickinson ended the dry spell taking the first game in a 3-2 score but dropped the second contest 4-2 at Herb and John Young Field.
In the opening game, each of FDU’s three runs were earned off junior pitcher Debra Jones, who fell to 3-6 in the circle this season. Jones gave up six hits and walked two in 6.2 innings of service. Rider inserted junior Emily Oltman to record the final out.
Junior infielder Rachael Zeides went a combined 3-for-6 between the two games and had one of Rider’s two home runs in the second game of the double header. The second long ball came courtesy of senior catcher Kiera Swank, who went 2-for-3 in game two.
“We understood we had to reassess ourselves [after game one] and that’s exactly what we did,” Swank said. “We just took control and hit the ball where we needed to.”
With two weeks left in her senior year, Swank said she wants to “Leave it all out on the field.”
The Quinnipiac doubleheader was pushed back to April 23 due to inclimate weather. The Broncs entered the series 3-7 in conference play. They were 2-10 all-time verses the Bobcats but were coming off a dominating 10-0 victory in their last meeting on March 31, 2018.
Second year Head Coach Davon Ortega mentioned that with the season winding down, this series has immense implications in regards to conference play.
“We need to play our best softball,” Ortega said. “We need to keep our game simple but again it’s a big series. We need to stay focused on one game at a time; one pitch at a time.”
Rider dropped a competitive first contest to the Bobcats, 1-0, which featured an extra eighth inning.
Bobcat oututfielder Kayla Jensen hit a single with the bases loaded and sent catcher Hannah Davis across the plate. The other two hits in game one came from pinch hitter Lo Yarnall and Jen Fey, who led the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team to the MAAC championship this past winter.
Rider sophomore hurler Debra Jones tossed a complete game and struck out two batters.
Quinnipiac dominated game two producing six runs on six hits giving the Bobcats a 6-0 win and their 12th all-time against Rider.
Quinnipiac scored two runs in the home second and recorded a four-run fourth inning.
Their strong bats were backed by a solid performance in the field and in the circle by Lauren King, who tossed seven scoreless innings.
Rider broke up King’s no-hitter in the top of the sixth inning as redshirt junior infielder Gabby Bram singled to left field with no outs. Freshman pitcher Brooklyn Trujillo followed it up with a single of her own.
The Broncs fell to 7-35 overall and continue their long road trip with a doubleheader against Army West Point on April 24 and two MAAC doubleheaders against Siena and Marist on April 27 and 28, respectively.