Softball Rises to Third in NEC

The softball team picked up three wins over the weekend in double headers against Quinnipiac University Friday and Sacred Heart University Saturday, pushing the Hawks to 15-10 on the season and 6-2 in the NEC.

Sophomore Kayleena Flores said, “Playing back-to-back double headers is definitely physically and mentally draining.  But, we’ve done a lot of conditioning and worked hard as a team, so double headers aren’t as stressful as they used to be.”

The Hawks took the trip to Hamden, Connecticut on Friday to take on Quinnipiac in a double header. The Hawks didn’t see much success offensively on the day, only totaling four runs between the games, but they were able to split the games with the Bobcats, losing the first 8-1 but came back strong to take the second 3-0.

“We’re all really determined. We all have the same goal and we all just want to get where we need to go together as a team,” added Flores. “I think the team atmosphere is really good right now because we’re all working together as a team to get what we need to done.”

The only game MU dropped over the weekend road trip came at the hands of Quinnipiac in the first game on Friday, 8-1.

The Bobcats bats got hot early scoring four runs in the first inning off senior Lauren Sulick.  The Hawks then answered with a run in the second inning when sophomore Vanessa Cardoza brought in senior Weiser on a single, cutting the deficit to three runs. Quinnipiac didn’t waste any time extending their lead as they added two more in the bottom of the second pushing the score to 6-1.  

The Hawks were not able to score a run for the rest of the game. Quinnipiac added two more runs in the sixth inning and secured the victory in game one for the Bobcats. 

In the second game of the day, senior Jordan Barnett took the mound and pitched a scoreless, two-hit complete game for the Hawks, leading to a 3-0 victory. MU took an early lead on an RBI by Flores in the first. The Hawks bats then went quiet, but behind Barnett’s strong pitching, the Hawks were able to hold on to their early one-run lead. 

In the fifth inning, MU was able to gather some more run support for Barnett due to opportunistic base running by the Hawks. Senior Tish Derer scored on an error by the catcher to extend the lead.

Later in the inning, Flores attempted to steal second and although she was caught stealing, she allowed junior Alicia DeSanto to score from third, putting the Hawks comfortably ahead as they took the victory to split the double header. 

“We just focus on one game at a time in a double header and four games in a weekend,” said Head Coach Louie Berndt. “All you can do is focus on the now and do what you’re supposed to do today and it’ll take care of what you need to do tomorrow.”

The second day of the road trip, the Hawks traveled from Hamden to Fairfield, Connecticut to take on Sacred Heart. The Hawks found success in both games sweeping the Pioneers by a score of 1-0 in game one and 6-1 in game two. 

Sulick bounced back from her rocky start on Friday to throw a complete game shutout for the Hawks. Although MU only was able to string together four hits, they got just enough as an RBI from Cardoza brought in junior Kaitie Schumacher in the top of the second inning to give Sulick all the run support she needed as the Hawks picked up the 1-0 conference win. 

“The team’s mindset is totally on conference play, one game at a time. Everybody just has to do what they need to do and we’ll hopefully come out on top in games,” said Berndt. 

The second game of the day saw MU strike first after Derer took advantage on the base paths when Sacred Heart committed an error with two outs in the third inning.

Junior Shannon Fitzgerald then brought in the two other runners on base with a single, extending the lead to 3-0 before the end of the inning. 

The Pioneers closed the gap in the bottom of the inning with a home run off Barnett. Barnett pitched the complete game and only gave up that run to Sacred Heart. 

In the fourth inning, Derer brought in a run to further the lead. The game was then cemented in the sixth when Derer continued her solid day at the plate as she brought in two more runs on a triple to give the Hawks a 6-1 lead as MU completed the double header sweep. 

“Team chemistry is great. We have the leadership, we have a lot of things we haven’t had in past years and it’s all coming together,” said Berndt. “Not only is the talent level there, but this group is a very special group.”

The Hawks take a break from conference play to take on the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 3 at 4:00 pm.

MU will look to continue their strong start to conference play next weekend when they’ll take on Robert Morris, the team that was picked in preseason to win the NEC, in a double header at home. 

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography