WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (3/10/14) – The No. 24 Kean University softball team beat The College of Mount Saint Joseph 6-1 before suffering its first loss of the season in a nail-biting 6-5 affair with Greensboro College. Cougar pitchers Courtney Yard and Rebecca Rotola combined to allow just one earned run in 13 innings on Monday.
Game One vs. The College of Mount Saint Joseph
After Kean spotted the Lions a run in the top of the first, Megan Cegielski singled to lead off the home half for the Cougars. Fellow senior outfielder Sandra Binkiewicz tied the game with a long RBI triple to the wall in left-centerfield to make the score 1-1 after one.
In the third, Kean struck for four two-out runs. Emily Sabo and Binkiewicz were on second and third with two down, and a passed ball allowed Sabo to score the go-ahead run. Kelly Moorehead then ripped an RBI single through the left side to make the score 3-1.
Next, Amanda Berezy drove a ball down the leftfield line - unluckily for the Cougars it went past the fence for a ground-rule double – otherwise Moorehead would have scored easily. But no matter, as freshman Kate Smith strode to the plate and drove both runners in with her first collegiate hit to increase the Cougar lead to four.
After the initial hiccup in the first, Mount Saint Joseph had its best scoring chance in the sixth inning, when the Lions loaded the bases with one out. But Yard struck out the next two hitters swinging to end the threat.
The junior hurler ended the game allowing just the one run. She struck out nine Lions and scattered seven hits in the game to make her record 3-0 this season with the 6-1 victory.
Game Two vs. Greensboro College
Once again, Cegielski started things well for Kean with an infield single. After she moved to second on a fielder's choice, Binkiewicz's groundball single up the middle scored the runner and put the Cougars ahead early.
But Greensboro took advantage of a pair of Kean errors to score six runs – all unearned – in the bottom of the first. The Pride also knocked four hits in the inning, including a 2-RBI single by Dawn Harris.
At the end of the second inning, Cegielski gunned down a runner at home to end the frame and keep the Cougars within five runs.
Kean gained some ground in the fifth: Moorehead, Amanda Berezny and Smith all sent screaming extra-basehits to the wall as the Cougars scored two.
In the seventh, the team continued to fight to the last. With two outs, Smith (pictured left) singled and Emily Bissonnette doubled, bringing the tying run at the plate in the form of Jill Martin. The senior catcher doubled both runners home to get the Cougars within one. Kean was down to its last strike in four different at-bats before finally falling by a count of 6-5.
Cougar starter Rebecca Rotola pitched remarkably well. She did not walk a batter and did not allow an earned run in her complete-game effort.
Kean outhit Greensboro 15-7 in the game.
Kean will return to action Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. when the team tangles with Muskingum University at the Rebel Spring Games.