By Kim Leder
The Rider softball team hit the road for another Wednesday doubleheader, and just like its last doubleheader, the Broncs split it in New York against Columbia, winning game one, 3-0, but dropped the night cap by the same score, 3-0.
“Columbia is always a solid team,” Head Coach Tricia Carroll said. “Good bats, good speed. Only the pitchers change between games. I think holding them to three runs on the day is great. [Senior] Rachael [Matreale], [senior] Kelsey [Krisch] and [sophomore] Krysti [Maronski] all pitched well. It was a good warm up for conference play.”
In the first game, Rider compiled 10 hits and finally broke the scoreless tie in the eighth inning by plating three runs, earning the win. With two outs and runners on second and third, sophomore Ally Coryell came through with the go-ahead hit as she singled up the middle to bring home the game’s first run. Maronski then singled in two more to widen the gap before Matreale came in and finished the job.
The senior ace recorded 121 pitches, with 78 of them strikes. She surrendered only three hits and struck out four.
“Rachael pitched great,” Carroll said. “We were getting a little nervous that we couldn’t score until the eighth inning. [Junior] Sam Pugh did a nice job behind the plate, too. She threw out a couple of runners on steals. In addition, Maronski came up with a big hit in the eighth. [Sophomore] Kehli Washington was on base quite a bit. Good things happen for us when we can get that lead off runner on base. [Freshman Allysen] Breeden did very well at the hot corner, too.”
Washington, Pugh, Coryell and Breeden combined for eight hits to provide the offense.
In the second game, Rider only had six hits, allowing Columbia to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning before scoring an insurance run in the fifth.
“I thought our defense played well all day,” Carroll said. “For the most part, I was pleased with [their] performance. It certainly would have been nice to get both games, though.”
Krisch and Maronski teamed up in game two with Krisch recording one strikeout and Maronski throwing two innings and facing eight batters. The only changes made to the lineup was Breeden moving to third base because of an injury to everyday third basemen, junior Alyssa Paul.
With another doubleheader this weekend against Manhattan, the Broncs are hoping Wednesday’s games served as a warm-up for their MAAC competition.
“This was our last doubleheader before conference play,” Carroll said. “We were looking to settle the lineup. Based on what we have done to this point, we have a lineup we like and think we will do well [with it].”
Rider will host Manhattan on Saturday for its MAAC season opener. The teams will take the field at 1 p.m. with hopes for a fast start in league action.
“We are excited to get the conference season going,” Carroll said. “The energy on the team has been very positive. We have gotten production from pretty much everyone at different times so far this season. We just need everyone playing well this weekend.”