Manhattan Walks Off With Home-Opening Sweep
RIVERDALE, NY – A sacrifice fly by Jenn Vazquez (Fairfield, CT) in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Manhattan College softball team (3-4) a walk-off 3-2 victory and a sweep of its home-opening doubleheader against Hartford (2-9) at Gaelic Park on Tuesday. In game one, the Jaspers jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings en route to a 9-2 win.
This marked the fifth time in seven years that Manhattan opened its home slate by taking on Hartford in a twinbill, and the Jaspers wasted no time getting on the board in the first game. Shannon Puthe (Mullica Hill, NJ) led off with a walk, stole second, and moved to third when Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) reached on an error. Vazquez then ripped a single to left that gave Manhattan the game’s first run. The Jaspers added another tally on Lauren Pitney’s (Ansonia, CT) RBI single up the middle.
Manhattan then put up a four-spot in the bottom of the second. Kat Prevo (San Diego, CA) got the rally started with a base hit to center. After Alexa Dawid (Milford, CT) reached on an error, Puthe beat out an infield hit to load the bases. Gebhardt then took the first pitch she saw and drove it to right field for a bases-clearing triple that made it 5-0. Vazquez followed with a sacrifice fly to center that put Manhattan up 6-0.
It remained that way until the top of the fifth, when Hartford took advantage of a Manhattan error to score a pair of runs. The Jaspers responded with two in their half of the inning, though. After Pitney and Stephanie Reinhardt (Albany, NY) both walked to start the inning, Prevo poked an RBI single to center. Reinhardt then came around to score when Dawid beat the throw to first on a potential inning-ending double play. Manhattan picked up another run on Vazquez’s RBI double in the sixth, which was more than enough offense for Briana Matazinsky (Valley Falls, NY). She sent the Hawks down in order in the top of the seventh to wrap up the 9-2 victory.
Matazinsky (2-2) hurled a complete game, giving up just two unearned runs on six hits while striking out four without a walk. Offensively, Manhattan collected nine hits, with Vazquez finishing 3-for-3 with a run scored and three RBIs. Gebhardt went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs, while Puthe scored twice. Prevo also had a multi-hit game for the Jaspers.
Elizabeth Newkirk, Danielle DeMarco and Marisa Ferguson each had two hits for the Hawks, and Newkirk drove in both Hartford runs. Starting pitcher Bianca Ross (1-3) allowed six runs (five earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out one in four innings of work. Lexi Wilkerson pitched two innings of relief, surrendering three runs on three hits and two walks.
In game two, Wilkerson gave the Hawks an early lead with a two-run homer in the top of the first. Manhattan had at least one base runner in every inning after a 1-2-3 first, but Hartford pitcher Isbaella Gerone worked out of trouble each time.
Finally, the Jaspers broke through with a pair of runs in the sixth. After drawing a one-out walk, Pitney moved to third on an error when Hartford tried to get her at second on Reinhardt’s ground ball. With two down, Kayla McDermott (Garnerville, NY) helped her own cause with a game-tying two-run single to left.
McDermott allowed two hits in the top of the seventh, but the Jaspers got out of the inning when Ferguson tried to take third on a single. Puthe then started the bottom half of the seventh with a single to right. She stole second on the first pitch and moved to third on Gebhardt’s groundout. With the winning run on third and one out, the Hawks chose to pitch to Vazquez, and she delivered a fly ball to center that was plenty deep enough to plate the run and give Manhattan the walk-off 3-2 win.
The Jaspers tallied eight hits in game two, with Puthe going 2-for-4 with a run scored. In addition to finishing 1-for-3 with two RBIs at the plate, McDermott (1-2) tossed a complete game in the circle. She surrendered two runs on four hits, struck out six and walked two in her first collegiate victory.
For the Hawks, Ferguson finished 2-for-3, while Wilkerson drove in both runs on her homer. Gerone went five shutout innings in the circle. She allowed six hits, walked one and struck out two. Melissa Pereira (1-4), who singled for the only other Hartford hit, took the loss after giving up three runs (one earned) on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.2 innings of relief.
On Friday, the Jaspers play a pair of games at the Stetson Westin Invitational in DeLand, FL. Manhattan takes on North Dakota State (6-13) at 1:30 p.m. before facing the host Hatters (16-3) at 6:30 p.m.