By Shariq Marshall
On March 29, the softball team split a doubleheader in Rider’s home opener against Monmouth before being swept at Marist on March 30 and losing to Princeton on March 31.
With the help of sophomore pitcher Delany DeMello, who pitched a four-hitter in game one, Rider was able to edge out Monmouth (5-12, 1-0 MAAC) by a score of 3-1. Rider got off to a slow start offensively, with only one hit into the third inning. However, the sixth inning was the game changer for Rider when senior shortstop Gina McCool hit a single to score the pinch runner, freshman outfielder Toni Nino, followed by a two-run single from senior catcher Allysen Breeden to put Rider up 3-1, giving the Broncs a victory in game one.
Rider (6-16, 1-3 MAAC) got off to a decent start at the plate in the first inning of game two with a hit from sophomore pitcher Megan McDonough and an RBI single from junior third baseman Emily Cottrell, bringing in senior outfielder Amanda Irving, who earlier walked.
Following this, Rider gave up four runs off four hits in the third and two runs off three hits in the fourth. Although Rider was down 6-1 to start off the fourth, the momentum of the game changed because of its persistent batting ability, according to Head Coach Tricia Carroll.
“We’ve been hitting well all year, and teams know we’re dangerous,” Carroll said.
What started this momentum shift was Breedan’s 100th career hit.
“[It] felt really good. Last year wasn’t working for me so I’m glad to come back this year and be able to get that and for it to be a homerun was awesome,” Breedan said.
Her two-run homerun also scored freshman outfielder Monica Clark, who earlier walked. Following the homerun, sophomore shortstop Amanda Crimarco hit a single and McDonough reached on an error. Junior first baseman Dana Sensi then hit what had the potential to be a homerun but was called a double by the umpires. Rider then gave up four runs, but junior third baseman Emily Cottrell hit a grand slam to reduce Monmouth’s lead to 10-9. Rider, however, gave up two runs in the seventh inning, which concluded the game with a 12-9 victory for the Hawks.
Carroll said that the team knew it was going to win game one, but the team had some problems in game two.
“They were allowing too many runners to get into scoring position when we didn’t need to,” Carroll said.
Breeden said that despite splitting the doubleheader, the team has a bright future ahead.
“The team’s working great, we’re all really good with each other, we get along really well and that has a lot to do with the team chemistry on the field,” Breeden said.
Rider traveled to Poughkeepsie, New York, to face off against Marist (11-13, 2-0 MAAC), who was picked to top the conference in the pre-season, in a doubleheader. Prior to the games, Carroll said the team had the ability to beat the Red Foxes.
“They’re good and on paper they’re picked up there for a reason, but they won’t overlook us and as long as we keep doing this, we know we can be up there in the conference and we can win it and that’s what we’re aiming for,” Carroll said.
Marist won the opening game 3-0, holding Rider to only four hits. Despite McDonough’s pitching efforts in game one, the Broncs allowed a run in the fourth and two in the fifth and could not answer back. In game two, McDonough held the game even at 1, until allowing a walk-off grand slam for Marist that put them up 5-1 to cap off their second victory of the day. Marist leads the overall series with a record of 33-17 versus Rider.
Rider hosted Princeton (10-13, 2-0 Ivy League) on March 31. The game was originally scheduled to be held at Princeton, but was moved because of construction. The Broncs, however, still played the game as the road team.
The game was scoreless until the Tigers pushed across two runs each in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings. The top of the sixth, however, saw the Bronc bats come alive with a rally started by a double from Irving and an RBI double by Sensi. Sensi came around to score on an error, while Breeden hit a two-RBI single that tied the game.
Rider, however, suffered another walk-off loss as Princeton scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Broncs will play against Delaware (16-11, 3-2 CAA) in a doubleheader on April 1 before hosting another doubleheader on April 4 against conference rival Iona.