By Cynthia Reyes
The Rider softball team played five games in a span of four days on its home field, but could only manage one victory on the comforts of their own turf.
The Broncs won game one of their doubleheader against Stony Brook, but dropped their next four matchups, one to Stony Brook, two straight versus Fairfield, and the final game against state foe Monmouth.
Rider squared off against Stony Brook on Sunday, and game one was scoreless through the first two innings before junior Samantha Mayer hit a two-run single in the bottom of the third, giving the Broncs a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Rider added four more runs, securing a 6-0 lead. Two of the runs were brought in by Mayer and freshman Lisa Blanton, each with an RBI single. Senior Jen Steward hit a two-run single to cap off the inning.
Stony Brook managed to bring home two runs in the top of the sixth, but Rider came back immediately. The Broncs scored another three runs as Mayer, sophomore Alyssa Paul and junior Lucy Higgins each hit a runner home, making the score 9-2 in the sixth.
The Seawolves scored four more runs in the final frame but it wasn’t enough. Rider would hold on for a 9-6 victory.
“The team really pulled it together in the first game,” Mayer said. “Playing together as a team was really big for us.”
In the final game against Stony Brook, the Seawolves put Rider in an early hole, erupting for six runs in the first three innings. Freshman Kehli Washington brought things closer with an RBI single, and a balk brought in another run.
Senior Brittany Eckett hit her third home run of the season for Rider’s third and final run of the game. The Seawolves scored once more in the seventh inning to finish the 7-3 loss for Rider.
Monday afternoon saw Rider swept by Fairfield in a MAAC doubleheader. Stags pitcher Sarah Minice held Rider without a hit in game one for almost six innings until Washington finally hit a dribbler up the third base line for a single.
Ultimately the Broncs were blanked, losing 3-0. Junior Rachael Matreale pitched well, giving up only five hits and recording eight strikeouts.
“I was pretty confident coming into the game,” Matreale said. “My curve ball was working well inside and then I was able to get them out on the change up.”
Eckett was impressed with Matreale’s performance.
“She hit her spots,” Eckett said. “She continues to be a huge asset to our team.”
In the nightcap, Rider scored early in the second inning when Mayer crossed the plate after a single and two Stag errors. The Broncs took the lead in the third inning when Washington hit a single and was brought home by Paul’s RBI double.
Fairfield tied the score in the fourth inning on one of the five Bronc errors, and finished the extra eighth inning with a bases-clearing double to finish the sweep, 5-2.
On Wednesday, in the fifth matchup of the week, Rider jumped out to a 1-0 lead as sophomore Sam Pugh hit an RBI single, one of her three hits on the day. Monmouth then came back to score five unearned runs in the second inning and another run on an RBI single in the third inning to erase the Broncs’ advantage.
Mayer hit an RBI single in the bottom of the third to bring home senior Amanda Centeno, and by the fifth inning, Rider was only trailing 6-5, but that was as close as they’d get.
Monmouth scored seven more runs, and finished the game with a 13-7 win.
“As a team, I think we just need to play our game,” said Eckett. “I feel like we get too into the mechanics and we lose focus on our main objective, which is to just put the ball in play.”