By Ryan Connelly
With MAAC play only one game away, the softball team is still trying to find a way to win consistently. Losing four of its last five games, Rider now has a 3-15 record. However, with the Broncs’ win against Binghamton on March 25, the team was able to snap its eight-game losing streak.
The Broncs started a two-game series against the Bearcats in Baltimore on March 24. In the first contest, Binghamton defeated Rider, 6-5, in eight innings. The Broncs took charge early on, scoring two runs in the top of the second inning and holding the Bearcats to no runs in the bottom half.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the third when Binghamton fired back and took the lead, 3-2. In the fourth inning, Rider was able to score three runs to regain the advantage, making the game 5-3, but would not score again. The Bearcats ultimately won on a walkoff.
Pitching for the Broncs was sophomore Emily Oltman. She allowed seven hits and four earned runs, but struck out eight. Sophomore pitcher Elyse Cuttic went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Freshman catcher Keegan Zavodnik went 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and was walked once.
“As a player I think we’re doing really well, as long as we keep doing what the coaches ask us to do, we’re definitely going to make a big statement this year,” said Cuttic.
On March 25, Rider looked for revenge against Binghamton and got it, defeating the Bearcats, 6-3, in seven innings. The Broncs started the game with a statement, scoring four runs in the first two innings while not giving up any. However, the Bearcats fired back in the top of the third with three of their own. Rider also scored one in the bottom of the inning, making it 5-3. Rider then held Binghamton to zero runs for the rest of the game.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Broncs tacked on their last run. Rider finally snapped its losing streak. Everyone was doing their job; their six runs were scored by five different batters. Cuttic was a key player in this game. She pitched seven innings, allowing only one earned run while recording three strikeouts.
As part of a doubleheader, Rider also played Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Unfortunately for the Broncs, the momentum from the first game did not carry over, as they were beaten by the Retrievers, 10-3. This has been a common theme this season; early in games, they’re neck-and-neck with the opposing team before ultimately losing the game.
As it came down to the final innings, Rider just couldn’t hold on. The Broncs started things off in the top of the second inning with a double from senior infielder Monica Clark, which brought in Zavodnik. In the third, UMBC scored two, gaining the lead 2-1. In the fourth, Cuttic answered with a homerun.
However, the Retrievers then scored another two runs extending their lead to 4-2 through four. Neither team scored in the fifth, but in the sixth, UMBC pulled away, scoring six runs in the bottom of the inning. The Retrievers held the Broncs scoreless in the top of the seventh, securing the win.
On March 31, Rider will play Quinnipiac, which will commence MAAC play.
“I think that the teams we have played were really tough competition so they set us up to do really well and actually compete in the MAAC,” said Head Coach Davon Ortega.
Rider’s next game is at Lafayette on March 28 at 3 p.m.