Newburgh, NY –After losing three games to The Sage Colleges in 2014, including the elimination game of the Skyline Conference Championship tournament, the Mount Saint Mary College softball team (11-7, 7-1 Skyline) exacted some revenge and sent a statement to the Skyline Conference with a sweep of the Gators (12-12, 6-4 Skyline) Tuesday afternoon at the MSMC Softball Field. The Knights held on for a 7-4 victory in game one, then put it all together for a 9-0 win in the finale.
The Knights got off to a hot start in game one when senior catcher Stephanie Karcher (Oxford, Conn.) blasted a two-run homer to left for a quick 2-0 lead over the Gators after one inning. Freshman right fielder Taylor Canto (Walden, N.Y.) added another run in the second on a single to center, plating senior third baseman Danielle Soto (Miller Place, N.Y.) to put the Knights up, 3-0, after two.
Freshman pitcher Cindy Connoly (Walden, N.Y.) helped her own cause, which was a common theme for the day, with a sacrifice fly to left in the third that scored Soto to put the Knights up by four. Connoly picked up an RBI single through the left side in the fifth to bring in Karcher for a 5-0 advantage. To that point, Connoly had allowed just one hit and struck out eight batters.
Sage put together a rally in the sixth to finally get on the board. First baseman junior Morgan Dunn (Cohoes, NY/Cohoes) hit a double to right center with two on, clearing the bases to cut the deficit to three. Dunn later scored on a double by left fielder rookie Alana Vandenburg (Wyanantskill, NY/Columbia), leaving Sage down, 5-3.
The Knights quickly got a pair of runs back in the bottom of the sixth to give Connoly some more support. Soto knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly to right, and sophomore first baseman Michelle Surdan (Acton, Mass.) later singled to left to bring in another run and put the Knights up, 7-3.
The Gators put a scare into the Knights when third baseman sophomore Katy Rimawi (Ballston Spa, NY/Ballston Spa) led off the seventh with a home run to left center. Connoly did not allow another base runner, striking out two of the final three batters to hold on for the win.
Connoly mowed down 11 batters in Tuesday's opener, and improved to 5-4 on the season despite allowing four runs in the complete seven innings. Sophomore Lindsay Brace (Moriah, NY/Moriah Central) shouldered the loss for Sage and fell to 5-7 after yielding five runs on six hits and four walks.
Karcher went 2-for-2 with the first-inning two-run blast and a pair of walks to lead the Knights to the game-one victory. Connoly hit 1-for-2 with two RBIs and a run scored, and freshman designated player Courtney Barbara (Fishkill, N.Y.) hit 2-for-3 with a run and a double.
Dunn went 1-for-3 with two RBIs to pace the Gators in the opener. Rimawi went 1-for-3 with her late-game homer, her third of the season.
Karcher opened game two with another two-run homer over the left field fence, giving the Knights another early 2-0 lead. Also like the first game, Canto knocked in a run in the second inning, this time on a sacrifice fly to center that scored Connoly from third. Soto added an RBI single in the second to give the Knights a 4-0 lead.
Connoly scored again in the third after an error by the second baseman on a ball put in play by Canto kept the inning alive for the Knights. Barbara's at-bat produced the same result, as another error by the second baseman brought in sophomore shortstop Breanna DePasquale (Brooklyn, N.Y.) from third to give the Knights a 6-0 lead. The inning was not over yet, and with runners on second and third, sophomore second baseman Shannon Sommer (Brewster, N.Y.) laid down a beautiful bunt, and beat the throw to first for an RBI single, giving the Knights a 7-0 lead through three.
Having already thrown 11 innings on the afternoon, Connoly came up in the bottom of the fourth and came through in a big way, hitting a two-run bomb to deep right field to give the Knights a 9-0 lead through four innings.
Despite an error in the inning, Connoly made quick work of the Gators with three fly outs in the fifth to close out the win and the doubleheader sweep.
Connoly improved to 6-4 after throwing five shutout innings in game two. She allowed just five hits and struck out two more batters. Junior Katie Kovage (Hoosick Falls, NY/Hoosick Falls Central) suffered the loss and dropped to 5-4 on the year after allowing nine runs (six earned) in 3.1 innings of work.
Connoly went 3-for-3 in Tuesday's finale, scoring three times and knocking in two runs, both on her fourth-inning home run. Karcher had another big game as well, going 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBIs and her early two-run homer. Soto had a nice game as well, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Senior catcher Kristen Beikirch (Brockport, NY/Brockport) and second baseman Alexa Silk (Freehold, NY/Greenville) each went 2-for-3 to compile four of the Gators' five hits in game two. Kovage picked up the other hit in a 1-for-2 outing.
Sage is back in action on April 16 and will now host the Trailblazers of MCLA at Robison Field at 3:30 p.m. in a non-conference doubleheader.