By Jillian Shutt
The softball team was defeated by two tough competitors this past week. The team was defeated in a doubleheader against Stony Brook on April 17 and also came up short against Villanova on Wednesday.
The opening game versus Stony Brook was a hard-fought battle, but a disappointing 2-1 loss for the Broncs.
Despite this misfortune, the Broncs played to win. A few standout players included the pitcher, sophomore Rachael Matreale, who had a three-hitter and career-high 10 strikeouts. Junior Amanda Centeno helped to keep the score close by hitting junior Jen Steward home in the fourth inning. Although the effort was there, Rider was unable to come away with the win.
“Stony Brook is a good team, but we battled well,” said Centeno. “We were putting the ball in play, and the energy was there. We still need to find what is going to make us go from competing and coming close, to shutting people out and winning.”
The Broncs started out strong in the nightcap against Stony Brook, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Centeno hit a single, which put Steward in position to score off the RBI walk by Sam Pugh. However, this energy-boosting lead soon came to an end when Stony Brook brought home seven runs in the fifth inning to end the game in a mercy rule. The final score in this disappointing loss was 10-1.
Rider had another non-conference game against Villanova on Wednesday at home. This was supposed to be another doubleheader, but the rain stopped the second game.
The Broncs knew that this was going to be a tough game against the strong Big East team. Despite that, the Broncs fared well against the Wildcats, keeping the score close despite the rainy weather.
The final score of this wet and muddy game was 6-5 with Villanova sliding away with the win.
The Broncs started off the excitement by breaking the scoreless game in the third inning with back-to-back doubles by seniors Allyson Melia and Candice Harris. Villanova was able to rally back in the fourth and tie the game. In the fifth, the Wildcats took a 4-3 lead and extended their lead to 6-3 in the top of the seventh.
Rider battled back with a home run from Harris and an RBI double by freshman Heather Muscara. However, the tying run for the Broncs was left stranded at second, giving the Wildcats the win.
“Villanova is a good team, but we were hitting the ball right to people, had great at bats and almost battled back in the last inning,” said Centeno. “This team always battles back.”
The opening game in this series was delayed 41 minutes because of lightening. The second game was eventually dismissed on account of darkness and rain.
The Broncs are hoping to be able to finish strong and come away with some wins this weekend.
“I know we are all determined for MAACs so I know we are going to work hard to step it up and get some sweeps this weekend,” said Centeno.
Not only was this an exciting game, but also the environment was filled with support from over 250 fans in the stands supporting the Broncs. This was a Code Cranberry event and also a Bronc-a-cue that included free food and drinks. Code Cranberry is a collective showing of support from Rider’s 20 varsity sports.