Manhattan Reaches 30-Win Plateau For Second Straight Season
HACKENSACK, NJ – After going 23 years without a 30-win campaign, the Manhattan College softball team has now reached that mark in back-to-back seasons. The Jaspers earned their 30th and 31st victories of 2017 on Wednesday, as the swept Fairleigh Dickinson in their final non-conference doubleheader of the season. Manhattan (31-17) notched an 11-3 triumph in the first game of the twinbill before defeating the Knights (5-35) by a 7-2 count in the nightcap at FDU Softball Field.
This is fifth 30-win season in program history. The Jaspers previously reached the mark three straight times from 1991-93.
Manhattan jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning of game one. After a run scored when Lauren Pitney (Ansonia, CT) reached on an error, Jenn Vazquez (Fairfield, CT) followed with a two-run single to center that made it 3-0. Fairleigh Dickinson cut its deficit to 3-2 on Kellie Natham's two-run homer in the fourth before the Jaspers put up a six-spot in the top of the fifth.
Pitney started the inning with a walk, then Vazquez crushed a long home run to center field, making it 5-2. Dominique Palagruto (Sewell, NJ), who had walked, scored on Stephanie Reinhardt's (Albany, NY) double to right center. Reinhardt took third on the throw home before stealing home on the back end of a double steal with Victoria Ross (Bloomfield, NJ). With two down, Briana Matazinsky (Valley Falls, NY) smacked a base hit up the middle that knocked in two and increased the Jaspers' cushion to 9-2.
Fairleigh Dickinson was able to get one run back in the bottom of the fifth, but Manhattan added two unearned tallies in the top of the seventh. The Jaspers loaded the bases with nobody out, and it looked like Knights pitcher Madison Emerson might get out of the jam when Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) sent a two-out grounder to second. However, the ball was misplayed into a two-run error, making it 11-3. That would be the final score, as Stephanie Kristo (San Jose, CA) closed out Manhattan's 30th victory of the season.
Vazquez finished a triple short of the cycle in the game. She ended up 3-for-5 with a double, a homer, a run scored and four RBIs. Shannon Puthe (Mullica Hill, NJ) went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Matazinsky had two runs scored and two RBIs. Pitney also scored twice, while Alexa Dawid (Milford, CT) ended up 2-for-5 with a run scored. Nicole Williams (Ansonia, CT) (10-6) earned the win after giving up three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 4.2 innings. Kristo pitched a scoreless 2.1 innings, yielding just three hits and a walk.
Emerson, Reanna Cervantes and Serena Meehan each had two hits for the Knights. Emerson and Cervantes both scored a run, while Meehan collected an RBI. Natham picked up two RBIs on her home run. Baylee Ports took the loss after surrendering three unearned runs on three hits to go along with three strikeouts and two walks in three innings of work. Erica Johnson allowed six runs on four hits and five walks in two innings before Emerson finished up with two innings of relief. She was charged with two unearned runs on four hits while also notching a strikeout and issuing a walk.
In game two, the Knights took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first before Manhattan broke it open with a five-spot in the third. Puthe, Dawid and Matazinsky roped three straight RBI singles, then Pitney drove in another run on a fielder's choice. Vazquez was up next, and she smacked a single to center field. The Fairleigh Dickinson center fielder overran the ball on the play, though, allowing Pitney to score.
An RBI single by Emerson brought Fairleigh Dickinson within 5-2 in the bottom of the third, and it would stay that way until the sixth, when Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) sent one deep to right for her third home run of the season. Manhattan then added an insurance tally in the seventh. Kat Prevo (San Diego, CA) led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a Puthe single, and scored on Dawid's sacrifice fly to center.
Dawid finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored in game two. Vazquez was also 2-for-3 (making her a combined 5-for-8 in the twinbill), while Puthe went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Palagruto and Prevo both had a hit and a run scored. Matazinsky (14-5) got the start in the circle and lasted five innings. She allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits, one walk and one strikeout. Kayla McDermott (Garnerville, NY) tossed two innings of shutout relief, giving up just one hit to go along with a walk and a strikeout. Game two also marked Reinhardt's school-record 200th consecutive start at shortstop.
Summer Mendoza accounted for half of Fairleigh Dickinson's six hits with three singles. Cervantes went 1-for-4 with a run scored, while Emerson was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Stephanie Collins scored the Knights' other run in the contest. Ports (0-6), who started both ends of the doubleheader for Fairleigh Dickinson, tossed a complete game in the nightcap. She yielded seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits, struck out two and walked one.The Jaspers conclude the regular season with a pair of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) doubleheaders this weekend. Manhattan (11-5 MAAC) travels to Quinnipiac (21-25, 7-9 MAAC) at 12 p.m. on Saturday, then visits first-place Iona (25-19, 14-4 MAAC) at 12 p.m. on Sunday. If the Jaspers win all four contests, they'll clinch the No. 1 seed and home field advantage in the MAAC Tournament.