By David Pavlak
The softball team wrapped up its Florida tournament with four important games as Rider tried to end the trip on a high note. The Broncs were able to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson University, 7-1, before falling to Butler, 9-2, later that evening. The next morning, the Broncs lost two games, one against UW–Green Bay, 5-1, and later, to Colgate, 6-1.
The Broncs (3-14), whose first home game was postponed because of inclement weather until April 19, will travel to Philadelphia Saturday for a doubleheader against Pennsylvania (5-7) before returning home and playing a pair of games against Army (10-8).
Facing off against FDU (12-7), the Broncs were led by the strong pitching performance of junior Rachael Matreale, who hurled a complete game, recording eight strikeouts. Rider opened up the game in the fourth inning, when it compiled five hits and scored six runs, resulting in a 6-1 lead.
“The team is really working hard,” said sophomore catcher Sam Pugh. “I feel like there is so much talent and potential from every single player. Our freshmen are playing bigger than how you would expect typical freshmen to play.”
The Broncs did not fare well against Butler (12-8). The game was scoreless until the fourth inning, when Rider scored the first run. The lead would not last long, however, as the Bulldogs scored six runs on five hits. They added three more runs in the sixth inning to complete the rout, forcing Rider to walk away with a 9-2 loss.
“In the FDU game we obviously hit well, the pitching was there and the defense was pretty solid,” Pugh said. “As for Butler, they are a very good team and we just gave them opportunities that they capitalized on. We had a little bit of a hard time putting our hits together to produce runs. It’s still early and a lot of us are putting the finishing touches on our swings.”
Against UWGB (11-9), the Broncs scored first, as Pugh scored with an RBI single with two outs. UWGB scored in bunches, though, in the second and fifth innings. Freshman Kehli Washington recorded two of the four hits for Rider.
Against Colgate, the Broncs plated only one run and allowed six. Matreale threw six innings and recorded five strikeouts, though she wasn’t able to stop the runs from crossing the plate.
“Our coaches keep telling us that this team will be underachieving if we do not make the tournament, and I feel like we keep that in mind whenever we’re on the field. We want it bad this year,” said Pugh.