Playing their fourth set of games in the span of the last four days the Marist Women’s Softball Team was clearly anxious to get back on the field once again and showed zero signs of fatigue or slowing down. Today that was very evident as the Red Foxes put up 17 runs in two games. On a day that you would think that the bats may not be clicking on all cylinders with the number of games the girls have been playing lately, that was not the case. The first game was a bit of a blur, as the Red Foxes crushed the Rider Broncs 10-0 in five innings due to the mercy rule. The second game was much more eventful as the Red Foxes came back to win 7-5.
The first matchup happened in the blink of an eye, as the Red Foxes put up an onslaught of runs, scoring a whopping seven runs in the bottom of the second inning. They wasted no time getting junior starting pitcher Calista Phippen some run support. The Red Foxes had 11 players bat that inning, in the process they played small ball driving in all of their runs from singles or doubles for the most part. They got contributions from multiple players like freshman third baseman Miah McDonald who went 2-3 with an RBI single and a two-run double as well.
Another player that contributed to the winning effort was sophomore right fielder Shea Walsh who got the whole second inning offensive onslaught started with an RBI single. On the mound, Phippen was in the zone and was mowing down the Rider offense in the process. Phippen went five innings, managed to only give up one hit, and had two strikeouts along the way as well.
The second affair proved to be a little more newsworthy and not the kind of cakewalk that the Red Foxes had in the first game. Rider was able to get off to a better start, getting their first run of the game in the top of the first inning off a sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Chaela Crowder which made the score 1-0. The Red Foxes had sophomore pitcher Meghan Haff start and she struggled with her control and throwing strikes. Luckily for Haff, the Red Foxes were able to get her some run support in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a three-run home run by junior catcher Kaley Coltrain, which gave the Red Foxes a 3-1 lead.
This resulted in Rider coming back with a thump, as they managed to score four runs in the top of the second inning. Haff was actually taken out before most of the damage was done in relief was senior pitcher Nicole Teague.
“Meghan is a very gifted and talented pitcher and there’s no question that when she gets going, we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” head coach Joe Ausanio said.
In that inning, Rider got contributions from junior right fielder Lani Moreno who hit a two-run single up the middle. Later in that inning, Crowder was able to do some more damage with an RBI single up the middle giving Rider a 5-3 lead.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the 4th inning where the Red Foxes put a dent in the score, from graduate student first baseman Julia Blarr who drove in Walsh from third base off of a fielder’s choice which cut the Rider lead to 5-4.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Red Foxes had their last chance to try and win the game. Sophomore second baseman Sam Freeland got on base with a one-out single. After McDonald grounded out and moved the runner to second, the Red Foxes were down to their last out.
With the runner on second, Coltrain came up big with a bloop single to left field which tied the game at 5-5. Coltrain has reached base safely in ten straight games. Coming up right after Coltrain was graduate student designated player, Ali Milam, who has been through many big moments in her career. Milam walked up to the plate ready, she wasted no time, as she belted one to deep center field which crossed the wall for a walk-off two-run home run which gave the Red Foxes a 7-5 win.
Milam’s homer was the 26th of her collegiate career, which moved her into a tie for sixth place all-time in program history with 2017 graduate Janna Korak. Amanda Koldjeski (33 homers, played from 1998-2001) is the program’s all-time home run leader.
“The very first thing I said to them after the second game I said I’m so proud of that effort today,” Ausanio said. He added that at the end of the second game that there wasn’t anyone he wanted up there more than Milam, and that he said to her that this is her “senior moment,” and Milam did not let him down.
“Coach saying that and then again just the team like that last inning, everyone had their rally caps on, Sam Freeland, he was the one yelling like hype me up, turn me up like let’s go let’s go and Julia our other fifth-year transfer she had her hat on backward and everyone was just going crazy and like it just became fun like softball became fun,” Milam said. “Everyone just like Joe included here’s a fifth-year moment, let’s go and I just kind of smiled because I’m like yeah it is my fifth year like with last time I’m ever gonna be playing. Let’s just go have some fun.”
Marist has now won three straight. The Red Foxes have scored 29 runs in their last three games after scoring 29 runs in the first nine. The Red Foxes get back on the diamond on Wednesday with a doubleheader against their MAAC rival Siena.
Edited by Nicholas Stanziale
Photo Credits: Marist College Athletics