|Manhattan Drops Two at Strike Out Cancer Tournament|
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - After opening the season with 10 games in six days during the Rebel Spring Games, the Manhattan College softball team had just one day off before swinging back into action at Seton Hall's Strike Out Cancer Tournament on Friday. The Jaspers (1-11) began round-robin play with an 8-0 loss to Monmouth (6-4), then dropped a 13-6 decision to the host Pirates (11-11) at Ivy Hill Park.
Manhattan had an early chance against Monmouth, loading the bases with two down in the bottom of the first. However, Monmouth starter Alissa Schoelkopf struck out Mickayla Romero (Las Vegas, Nev.) to end the inning. The Hawks then took a 2-0 lead on two-run homer by Kate Kuzma in the top of the second. Monmouth made it 6-0 with four runs in the third, and the Hawks added two more in the fourth. Manhattan was unable to muster a rally in the fifth, giving Monmouth an abbreviated 8-0 victory.
Kate Bowen (Newtown, Conn.), who had one of the Jaspers' two hits in the game, got the start in the circle. Bowen (1-1) yielded eight runs on seven hits, struck out two and walked six in five innings of work. Jocelin Whitmore (La Habra, Calif.) collected the other Manhattan hit.
Schoelkopf (5-3) allowed just three Manhattan base runners after walking the bases loaded in the first. She gave up two hits while striking out four and walking four in a five-inning shutout. Christine Schnerr went 2-for-2 at the plate, while Vanessa Cardoza and Kaitie Schumacher both notched three RBIs for the Hawks. Alicia DeSanto scored a pair of runs.
Against Seton Hall, the Jaspers struck early with a run in the top of the first. Bowen led off the game with a double to left, and she moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Babcock (Haverstraw, N.Y.). Bowen then scored on Whitmore's grounder to second. However, Seton Hall got that run right back when Brittany Hammer belted a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first, setting the stage for a big inning by the Pirates. Seton Hall scored seven more times to open up an 8-1 advantage.
The Jaspers tallied an unearned run in the top of the third, but the Pirates responded with a two-spot in the bottom half of the inning to make it 10-2. After Seton Hall put three more runs on the board in the third, Manhattan battled back with four in the fifth. Heather Leone (Brick, N.J.) started the rally with a pinch-hit single to center. Leone's single was the first of six consecutive hits for Manhattan. Bowen and Babcock each singled to load the bases, then Whitmore drove in a run with a single to center. Carla Velasquez (Miami, Fla.) followed with an RBI single of her own. However, Whitmore was thrown out at second on the play, putting runners at the corners with two out. And both runners came across on Amanda Paxson's (Cedar Grove, N.J.) triple to right.
After the teams combined for 19 runs in the first four and a half innings, the pitchers controlled the second half of the game. Paxson's triple was the last hit of the game, as the pitching staffs combined to retire the final 13 hitters of the contest in order.
Manhattan outhit Seton Hall 9-8 and tied a season-high with six runs. Bowen went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Paxson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Whitmore also drove in a pair of runs. Kelsi Redding (Tucson, Ariz.) (0-5) went the first 2.1 innings in the circle and took the loss. She surrendered 10 runs (five earned) on five hits. Romero tossed the final 3.2 innings, yielding three runs and three hits while striking out three and walking one.
Hammer led the way offensively for the Pirates, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs. Kristen Kaelin was also 2-for-3 with four RBIs, while Calltey Sheldon scored three runs and Sam DeMasi crossed the plate twice. Casey Moses (2-2) went the distance in the circle. She gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits, struck out five and walked one.
The tournament continues on Saturday morning, when Manhattan takes on Texas Tech (23-7) at 9 a.m. The four teams will then be seeded 1-4 based on their tournament record for semifinal games on Saturday afternoon.