Jaspers Move Closer to MAAC Tournament Berth
HAMDEN, CT – The Manhattan College softball team moved closer to securing a place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Tournament by splitting a doubleheader at Quinnipiac on Saturday. After the Bobcats (22-26, 8-10 MAAC) took the opener by a 4-1 count, Nicole Williams (Ansonia, CT) struck out 13 in game two, a 10-2 Manhattan (32-18, 12-6 MAAC) victory at QU Softball Stadium.
Williams had nine strikeouts thru four innings, including fanning the side in both the third and fourth. The Jaspers' offense, meanwhile, gave her an 8-0 lead with two runs in the top of the third and six in the fourth.
Lauren Pitney (Ansonia, CT) and Jenn Vazquez (Fairfield, CT) ripped back-to-back RBI singles in the third before Manhattan erupted for a six-spot in the fourth. With the bases loaded and two out, Briana Matazinsky (Valley Falls, NY) hit a sinking line drive to left field. It dropped for a double, allowing two runs to score, and another run came across on an error when the Bobcats tried to get the runner at third. Pitney followed with an RBI single, then, after a Vazquez single, Christine Gebhardt (Middletown, NJ) knocked them both in with a base hit to center.
Quinnipiac cut the margin to 8-2 on Erin Larsen's two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, but the Jaspers responded with two in the top of the sixth. After Pitney was hit by a pitch and Vazquez singled, Gebhardt smacked a double to the wall in left center, making it a 10-2 game. Williams then closed out the early finish by retiring the Bobcats in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Matazinksy, Pitney and Vazquez all had three hits and two runs scored in the game. Matazinsky and Pitney both drove in a pair, while Vazquez recorded one RBI. Gebhardt, meanwhile, collected four RBIs on her two hits. Shannon Puthe (Mullica Hill, NJ) finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Williams (11-6) faced three batters over the minimum in the six-inning complete game. She gave up two runs, two hits and a walk, while her 13 strikeouts were one shy of her career-high.
Keala Cordeiro's leadoff single in the fifth was the only other Quinnipiac hit in the contest. Starting pitcher Casey Herzog (9-15), who earned the win in game one, took the loss after allowing five runs (two earned) on six hits in 3.1 innings. Kendall Brundrett was charged with five runs and seven hits in 2.2 innings of relief.
In game one, Herzog limited the Jaspers to just two hits, a single by Puthe leading off the game and a two-out single by Alexa Dawid (Milford, CT) in the seventh. Manhattan, however, scored without the benefit of a hit in the top of the fourth to take a 1-0 lead. Matazinsky was hit by a pitch to start the inning, then Pitney reached on an error and Gebhardt drew a walk. After Dominique Palagruto's (Sewell, NJ) popup was snagged in shallow right, Stephanie Reinhardt (Albany, NY) was hit by a pitch to knock in Matazinsky with the game's first run.
It was still 1-0 Jaspers when Quinnipiac put up four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Miranda Magana ripped a two-run single to left that gave the Bobcats the lead, then a Cordeiro sacrifice fly made it 3-1. Lexi Courtney followed with an RBI single that increased Quinnipiac's advantage to 4-1.
After giving up the two-run single to Dawid in the seventh, Herzog snagged Matazinsky's line drive to close out the victory. She struck out seven and walked three in the complete game triumph.
Herzog also went 1-for 2 at the plate and scored a run. Magana finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs, while Rebecca Drake also had two hits in game one. Sarah Heimbach, meanwhile, went 1-for-2 with a run scored.
For the Jaspers, Matazinsky (14-6) got the start in the circle and took the loss. She allowed four runs on eight hits, struck out two and walked two in 4.2 innings. Kayla McDermott (Garnerville, NY) retired all four batters she faced, including a pair of strikeouts.Manhattan concludes the regular season by visiting first-place Iona (25-19, 14-4 MAAC) for a doubleheader at 12 p.m. on Sunday. The Jaspers, who have a number of scenarios to officially clinch a postseason spot, can still host the MAAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed if they sweep the Gaels and Siena loses at least once at Niagara on Monday.