The softball team defeated St. Joseph’s in their home opener 5-0 on Wednesday, Mar. 29 and split a doubleheader against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) rival Manhattan on Monday, Apr. 3.
Monmouth did not waste any time scoring in their home opener, with junior outfielder Chloe Howerth scoring after a defensive error by St. Joseph’s in the first inning. Howerth finished the game with a game-high three hits.
In the fourth inning, Howerth drove in freshman shortstop Deangie Jimenez on an RBI single to left. Later in the inning, junior infielder Morgan Balderas drove in junior outfielder Katie Baron on another RBI single.
In the fifth inning, senior infielder Rachel Shotzbarger battled through an 11-pitch at-bat and eventually sent an RBI single to center field, scoring junior catcher Alex Holzman. Sophomore infielder Nicole Wieczorek came off the bench and delivered a single that drove in sophomore outfielder Jasmine Higa, who entered the game as a pinch runner. Riley finished the game with a strikeout on her 100th pitch of the afternoon.
“Amanda pitched very well today,” Head Coach Shannon Salsburg said. “A lot of credit goes to her catcher Alex Holzman, who has done a great job of working with our pitchers and understanding what they want to throw. They were smart today and it showed.”
Riley was proud of her team behind her with several defensive plays that helped keep her shutout intact. “I feel like we came together as a team and worked hard. Making plays we’ve been working hard on in practice,” Riley said. Riley finished the complete game shutout with six strikeouts and only two hits allowed.
Monmouth split a conference doubleheader against Manhattan on Monday, Apr. 3, winning game one 1-0. Riley threw her second straight complete game shutout, this time needing extra innings to win it. In the top of the eighth inning, senior first baseman Justene Reyes scored Baron on a hot shot to the shortstop. Riley finished the game with 12 strikeouts after allowing only five hits.
Monmouth dropped the second game of the afternoon, 9-1. Junior outfielder Katie Baron drove in the Hawks’ lone run with a double.
The Hawks will be back in action this afternoon for a doubleheader against Wagner at MU Softball Park, beginning at 2 p.m. Monmouth will return to conference play with doubleheaders against Rider in Lawrenceville on Saturday, Apr. 8 and at home against Quinnipiac on Sunday, Apr. 9.
PHOTO COURTESY of Karlee Sell