Jaspers Fall to Monmouth In MAAC Tournament Opener
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – The Manhattan College softball team began its quest for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title on Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, though, the fourth-seeded Jaspers (33-20) fell to fifth-seeded Monmouth (23-29) by a 4-0 count in the first round of MAAC Tournament at Iona's Donald E. Walsh Field.
Monmouth struck early, getting three singles in the first inning, the third of which knocked in a run, to take a 1-0 lead. The Hawks then increased their advantage to 3-0 on a two-run homer by Justene Reyes in the third. Reyes drew a walk in the fifth before coming across on Alex Holzman's double to left.
That was more than enough offense for pitcher Amanda Riley, who shut out the Jaspers for the second time this season. Manhattan was limited to a pair of Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) singles thru six innings. After Briana Matazinsky (Valley Falls, NY) walked leading off the bottom of the seventh, Lauren Pitney (Ansonia, CT) reached second on a wild throw during a double play attempt. Jenn Vazquez (Fairfield, CT) then drove one to right that was caught at the wall, allowing Pitney to move to third. She would be left stranded there, however, as Riley got Gebhardt to pop up to end the game.
This marked just the fourth time this season Manhattan has been shut out, as the Jaspers have now gone 14 straight innings without scoring a run. Gebhardt finished 2-for-3, while the rest of the team was 0-for-20 in the game. Nicole Williams (Ansonia, CT) (12-7) got the start in the circle and took the loss. She surrendered three runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one in four innings of work. Kayla McDermott (Garnerville, NY) relieved Williams in the fifth and allowed one run on two hits and a walk in three innings of work.
For the Hawks, Reyes went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Morgan Balderas was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Holzman and Kayla Rosado each finished 1-for-3 with an RBI. Riley (15-16) held the Manhattan offense in check all afternoon. She struck out six and walked one in the two-hit shutout.
Manhattan now drops into the loser's bracket and will be eliminated with its next loss. The Jaspers' first elimination contest will be at 2 p.m. on Thursday against the loser of the game between second-seeded Siena (21-28) and No. 6 Fairfield (23-26). The contest will be broadcast on ESPN3.