By Michael Mack
The Rider (14-23-1, 3-1 MAAC) softball team split a doubleheader with Delaware (9-33-1, 2-7 CAA) on Wednesday.
In the first of the two games, the Broncs got a stellar pitching performance from senior Rachael Matreale.
“I just tried to go out there and mix up my pitches and keep the hitters off balance,” Matreale said. “I felt good about how I pitched.”
Matreale should feel good, after she allowed just one hit in her seven innings of work. But she admits that it did not come easy.
“The umpire had a small zone which was annoying while I was pitching,” Matreale said. “But it is helpful to have to pitch with adversity.”
Head Coach Patricia Carroll recognizes the performance she got out of her ace pitcher.
“Rachael has been throwing very well all year,” Carroll said. “She had another great game against Delaware.”
But, like any other team sport, one player could not do it by herself. The Broncs needed runs to win the game. That run support came in the fourth inning when sophomore Alyssa Paul blasted a home run to break the scoreless tie. Later in the inning, freshman Allysen Breeden followed suit and added a homer of her own to put the Broncs up by two.
“Home runs always feel great,” Breeden said. “Knowing that you just added a run for your team on the scoreboard is a great feeling, since you need runs to win games.”
The two runs were more than enough for Matreale, who continued to deal straight through the seventh inning with the Broncs eventually winning 4-0.
The nightcap would not go as well for the Broncs as Delaware jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning off sophomore pitcher Krysti Maronski.
“Krysti pitched very well,” Matreale said. “We just were not able to clump our hits together.”
The Broncs left eight runners on base in the second game.
“We got plenty of runners in scoring position, but couldn’t get them in,” Carroll said. “We need to do a much better job getting on top of the ball to get it in play.”
The Broncs did manage to scratch out a run in the fourth though, cutting the lead to one. In the sixth, the Broncs had an opportunity to tie the game on a double by senior Lucy Higgins, but unfortunately junior Heather Muscara was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
The Broncs lost the game by a final score of 4-1.
Next up for the Broncs is a doubleheader against conference rival Marist at home on Sunday.
“The games on Sunday against Marist are big ones,” Breeden said. “We need the wins against them to give us a better chance of making it to the conference tournament this year.”