By Carlos Toro
The softball team earned its first conference win in walk-off fashion on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Broncs (4-25, 1-5 MAAC) defeated Monmouth in the first game of an April 8 doubleheader at home, later splitting the doubleheader series.
Head Coach Jaclyn Timko said the game was a much-needed victory for the team, but didn’t expect to get the win in this manner.
“I didn’t think that was how we would get the win,” Timko said. “This was so big for us. Before the game, the players were hitting the ball so well in practice, I knew this game might come down to the seventh inning.”
After Monmouth opened the first game of the doubleheader with two runs on one hit and two Rider errors, the Broncs exploded for four runs of their own in the bottom half of the first inning.
Junior second baseman Monica Clark led the charge with a single in the bottom half of the first inning. She was the Broncs’ first run of the day after Monmouth commited a fielding error.
Each team scored at least one run in the first three-and-a-half innings of the game, with Rider leading 7-5 after four innings.
Monmouth (12-19, 4-2 MAAC) scored two runs in the top half of the sixth inning after Balderas had an RBI single to third base and a throwing error gave Monmouth pinch runner Tyranny Royster a chance to score from third. That run tied the game 7-7.
Rider sophomore catcher Kiera Swank hit a one-out single to center field in the seventh inning. Sophomore outfielder Amanda Jordan then hit a single to right field which advanced senior outfielder Josettee Spencer, who came in to pinch run for Swank, to third base. After a change in Monmouth pitchers, a wild pitch gave Spencer the opportunity to steal home, giving Rider the 8-7 win.
Starting freshman pitcher Emily Oltman became the first Bronc pitcher to go the distance in a game this season, allowing seven runs, four of which were earned, and striking out three batters.
Monmouth’s offense then took charge of the second game of the doubleheader. The Hawks scored seven unanswered runs in the first three innings of the game en route to an 11-1 win over Rider, splitting the series.
The Broncs’ next doubleheader series will be against Fairleigh Dickinson on April 12 and against Fairfield on April 15, both of which are at home.
Senior outfielder Josettee Spencer said the win boosts the team’s confidence moving forward.
“I definitely feel like we’re playing a lot better,” Spencer said. “It’s great to see the progress we’ve made since the beginning of the season to now. [The win] gives us a lot of confidence heading into the rest of the season.”