Softball Sweeps Rutgers-Newark in NJAC Doubleheader
NEWARK, N.J. (4/3/12) – Senior shortstop Alicia Banz was 5-of-8 with five RBI and two runs scored to help lead the Kean University softball team to a sweep of Rutgers-Newark in a New Jersey Athletic Conference doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cougars (12-6, 2-0 NJAC) posted a 4-1 win in the opener, before cruising past the Scarlet Raiders (9-11) with an 11-0 win in five innings in the nightcap.
GAME ONE: Three Runs in Top of Seventh Lift Cougars Past Rutgers-Newark, 4-1
Rookie right-hander Courtney Yard struck out a career-high 11 batters to tie the single-game record and Alicia Banz finished with three hits and drove in the go-ahead runs in the top of the seventh inning to lead the Cougars to a 4-1 win over the host Scarlet Raiders in the opener.
Tied 1-1, Yard led off the top of the seventh inning with a single and would move over to second base on the sacrifice bunt by freshman Maria Scopollito (pictured left). After pinch runner Kelsey Hannan replaced Yard on second base, catcher Jillian Martin put runners on the corners with a single to left field. Banz followed with a triple to right-center field to drive in Hannan and Martin for the 3-1 edge.
Later in the inning, the Cougars tacked on the insurance run on the RBI single by junior Katie Schuh and Yard struck out two of the final three batters as the Scarlet Raiders went down in order in the bottom half of the inning.
Rutgers-Newark recorded three of its four hits in the fourth inning, as freshman Victoria Sovak and junior Monica Liotto led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Kean turned the double-play for the first two outs of the inning, however junior Monica Bagan singled in Sovak with the first run of the game for the 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, the Cougars tied the game when sophomore Megan Cegielski reached on a bunt single and scored on the three-base throwing error.
Banz finished 3-of-4 with two RBI and Cegielski had one hit and two runs scored. Yard (9-2) scattered just four hits and allowed no walks and just one earned run in the complete-game victory.
GAME TWO: Kean Scores Early in 11-0, Five-Inning Victory
The Cougars scored all 11 runs in the first two innings of the game and freshman right-hander Ashlee Gieger allowed no hits through the first four innings in the 11-0, five-inning victory.
In the top of the first inning, Alicia Banz reached on an error to lead off the game and after stealing second base, she scored on the double down the left field line by right-fielder Megan Cegielski. Two batters later, third baseman Courtney Melchionna (pictured left) blasted a two-run homerun beyond the centerfield fence to extend the lead to 3-0. Centerfielder Maria Scopollito followed with a single and stole second, setting up the RBI single for left fielder Sandra Binkiewicz and a 4-0 Kean lead.
An inning later, the Cougars broke the game open with seven runs on seven hits and one error. Catcher Jillian Martin led off with a triple down the right field line and scored on the double by Banz to open the scoring. Second baseman Katie Schuh, Scopollito and Binkiewicz each had RBI singles, before Banz closed out the scoring with her second double of the inning to drive in two runs.
Gieger (pictured right) did not allow a hit until the top of the fifth inning, when pinch hitter Tasharla Evans had a single right in front of home plate for the first hit for Rutgers-Newark. The Scarlet Raiders added two more hits in the inning, before Kean ended the game by throwing out a potential run at home plate after the fly-out to centerfielder Kelsey Hannan.
The Cougars had 13 hits, as eight different players recorded at least one hit and eight different players scored at least one run. Banz finished with two hits, three RBI and two runs scored and Melchionna added two hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Binkiewicz, Scopollito and Martin each added two hits.
Gieger (1-2) scattered the three hits with two walks and one strike-out in recording the first win of her career.
The Cougars travel to Moravian College in non-conference action on Thursday, April 5, at 3 p.m.