Softball Knocked Out of NJAC Tournament
MONTCLAIR, N.J. (5/5/12) – The Kean University softball team’s quest for a three-peat came to an end on Saturday afternoon, as the Cougars fell to second-seeded The College of New Jersey, 3-0, in the New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday afternoon at Montclair State University.
In the elimination game, the two-time defending champion Cougars (24-19) were unable to overcome a three-run first inning and the no-hitter by senior right-hander Lauren Fitzsimmons, who avenged a pair of earlier losses to the Cougars this season. It was the fourth time the two teams met, as the Cougars had won each of the first three meetings, including two over the NJAC first-team pitcher.
The Lions (25-14) jumped out to the early lead in the top of the first inning. Senior Crystal Lee led off the game with a single and advanced to second on the throwing error. After moving over to third base on the sacrifice by Michelle Casale, second baseman Ashley Sogluizzo singled in Lee for the 1-0 lead.
Centerfielder Liz Huttner followed with a single up the middle and two batters later, third baseman Kelly Hommen delivered the two-run single for the 3-0 lead.
Fitzsimmons, who scattered six walks, retired nine of the first 11 batters she faced. In the fourth inning, right-fielder Megan Cegielski led off the inning for the Cougars with a walk and moved into scoring position on the sacrifice by centerfielder Maria Scopellito. However, the Lions preserved the shutout on the ensuing groundout that would turn into a double play when Cegielski was thrown out attempting to advance to third.
Two innings later, the Cougars again threatened without a hit, as freshman designated player Jess Fanty worked the one-out walk and Cegielski walked with two out to put runners on first and second base. Fitzsimmons (17-5) got out of the inning with the strikeout to keep the no-hitter and shutout intact.
Junior second baseman Katie Schuh managed a leadoff walk in the seventh inning, however the Lions advanced in the tournament after the fielder’s choice groundout and a pair of fly outs sealed the win.
Kean freshman right-hander Courtney Yard (18-13) settled down after the three-run first inning, as she only allowed four hits over the remainder of the game.
Sogluizzo was 3-for-4 for TCNJ while Huttner went 2-for-3 as they accounted for five of the Lions’ eight hits.
For the Cougars, Cegielski walked twice.