By Carlos Toro
The softball team won its first two games of the week when it swept Coppin State during Spring Break.
Rider competed at the University of Maryland Baltimore-County Retriever Classic from March 12-13, where the Broncs won two games and lost two.
Head Coach Jaclyn Timko said the team felt like a great weight was lifted from its shoulders.
“It’s always good having that first win,” Timko said. “It was finally nice to see them put everything together and just go out there and play. It was nice to end that Spring Break trip with a sweep.”
Rider earned its first win of the season against Coppin State thanks to sophomore third baseman Maddy Chain’s two RBI’s and three hits in the game. Coppin State first got on the board with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the second inning.
The Broncs responded with a run in the third inning to cut the deficit to one run when Chain hit a single up the middle and senior outfielder Josettee Spencer scored on the hit.
Rider then scored five more runs in the fourth and fifth inning to take the lead for good. Chain, sophomore first basemen Ellie Oruska and sophomore outfielder Amanda Jordan, and senior outfielder Toni Nino all had RBI’s in those two innings. Coppin State only scored one run in response to Rider’s offense and Rider won 6-3.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Coppin State was the first to strike, scoring a run in the first inning on a double hit by Coppin State sophomore first baseman Cayla Brown.
The Broncs then scored four runs in the second and third innings to take the lead, but Coppin State tied the game in the fourth inning. A combination of wild pitches and solid baserunning from Coppin State contributed to the tied game.
But Rider took the lead for good in the following inning when sophomore catcher Alexa Feliciano got an RBI on a ground-out. Senior shortstop Amanda Crimarco hit a single to right field to add another run and take a 6-4 lead in the fifth inning.
Coppin State did score another run in the bottom half of the fifth inning, but it was not enough to mount another comeback as the Broncs won 6-5 to complete the sweep.
Crimarco said the team’s wins were big for gaining momentum and the team needs to take advantage of every opportunity that it gets once conference play begins.
“I think we need to work on really keeping our confidence up, even when we hit the bumps in the road,” Crimarco said. “We need to feed off the types of performances, like the Coppin State games, especially at the plate. I think we really came together and were all able to contribute in different ways in order to pull out the two wins. We were really focused throughout the seven innings of both games and kept our heads in it and energy up in order to really finish the games and get the wins. I believe continuing to look forward rather than back and building off our successes is key for us as we head into MAAC play.”
Rider did compete against UMBC in a doubleheader on March 12, but got swept. The Broncs lost the first game 15-0 in five innings after UMBC scored nine runs in the fourth inning of the game.
The second game was much more competitive at the end, but Rider got off to a bad start. UMBC scored eight runs in the first inning. It wasn’t until the fourth inning that Rider’s bats got hot.
The Broncs scored five runs, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead. UMBC scored two more runs in the fifth inning as Rider lost the second game 11-7.
Nino had three hits and an RBI in the second game against UMBC while Feliciano and Spencer had two hits each.
The Broncs were supposed to have a doubleheader series against Howard, Georgetown and Saint Joseph’s on the road, but inclement weather canceled those games. The team’s next game will be a doubleheader at Villanova on March 23.
Timko said the non-conference games serve as a way for the team to gain confidence and get ready for the conference season, which begins on April 1 at Quinnipiac.
“We are using every game in this travel season as a way to get better and almost using it as practice,” Timko said. “One thing I saw was this team’s grit. Come April 1, there is going to be a lot more confidence on this team.”