Softball Improves to 18-18

The softball team traveled to NY last weekend to face off against Niagara University and Canisius College. The Hawks recorded only one loss in the four games played on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27 improving their overall record to .500.

In the first game of a doubleheader against the Purple Eagles, the Hawks fell 2-1 and posted their only loss of the series. Niagara scored single runs in the third and fifth after Chanelle Ward hit a RBI double and Brittany Richberg stole home. MU countered in the sixth when senior Alicia DeSanto led off the inning with a home run to center.

The remainder of the game was scoreless, and the Hawks dropped to 15-18 while the Purple Eagles advanced to 14-27.

The second game in the series saw an explosion of offense by the Hawks, ending in an 11-3 win against Niagara. The Purple Eagles scored early in the bottom of the first, with RBI singles by Desarae Maldonado and Amanda Werth.

MU scored five runs in the third inning. Freshman Lauren Howard walked and stole second; an error during DeSanto’s at bat allowed her to score. Runners were on first and second when freshman Justene Reyes doubled to score DeSanto. Niagara committed another error on an at-bat by freshman Rachel Shotzbarger, allowing junior Vanessa Cardoza to score. With two outs in the inning, sophomore Raelynn Galindo doubled to drive in both Reyes and Shotzbarger.

Niagara retaliated in the bottom of the fourth with Richberg’s RBI single, but MU dominated the offense again in the fifth. Shotzbarger hit a home run with one out in the inning, and Flores tripled to left center. Galindo, Meagan Newton-Pender, and Howard all contributed singles that advanced the Hawks to an 8-3 lead.

MU posted three more runs in the sixth. Reyes and Shotzbarger kicked off the inning with two doubles to give the Hawks a 9-3 lead. Junior Kayleena Flores singled to score Shotzbarger, and Galindo singled to put runners on the corners. A single by Howard brought Flores home, and the Hawks soared to 11-3 by the end of the inning.

The Purple Eagles loaded the bases for an attempted comeback, but freshman pitcher Sydney Underhill shut down the offense. The Hawks recorded the win, advancing to 16-18, while the Purple Eagles dropped to 14-28.

The second doubleheader of the weekend provided MU with a two-game sweep over the Canisius’ Golden Griffins. The first game was scoreless until the fifth, when Shotzbarger led off with a double and scored on sophomore Jill Freese’s single to left. Galindo added an insurance run in the seventh when she led off with a double and scored on a hit by sophomore Nikki Sandelier.

Canisius was shutout by Underhill, who only allowed three hits total. MU took the win at 2-0, advancing to 17-18 while Canisius dropped to 16-27.

Game two of the series progressed similarly, remaining scoreless until the fourth inning. Cardoza and Reyes hit a single and double, respectively, to put runners on second and third. Shotzbarger and Flores singled to bring their teammates home, putting MU up 2-0.

The Golden Griffins retaliated in the fifth, scoring after a walk and two singles to make the game 2-1. However, Underhill finished strong, keeping the Hawks in the lead and ultimately helping them advance to 18-18, while Canisius fell to 16-28.

MU finished the weekend at 3-1 with a .500 record overall. For their weekend efforts, Underhill and Flores were honored with the Rookie of the Week and Player of the Week awards, respectively.

The team has five games left in the regular season before the MAAC Championships in Fairfield, CT.

“I expect us to finish the season strong. Our season has been cut short due to the weather and I don’t think the team is ready for the season to be over,” head coach Louie Berndt said. “We just need to take care of business and finish what we set out to do, which is to go to the MAAC Tournament.”

The Hawks will play their final regular season game on Thursday, May 1 when they travel to Temple.