The Marist Red Foxes hosted the Saint Peter’s Peacocks, the lowest-ranked team in the MAAC conference for an afternoon doubleheader. The Red Foxes came into the games with a 10-10 record with just four regular season games left and a chance to get over .500 on the season. The women pulled out two wins against the Peacocks, taking them 8-6 in the first game and 6-4 in the second matchup.
In game one, senior pitcher Nicole Teague took the mound and the Red Foxes with sloppy defense put themselves in a 3-0 early hole. In the bottom of the first, sophomore catcher and utility player Shea Walsh grounded out, allowing sophomore outfielder Hannah Brock to come in and score, who was pinch-running for junior catcher Kaley Coltrain. The Red Foxes cut the lead to 3-2.
In the bottom of the third, graduate student outfielder Ali Milam reached on a throwing error which allowed the softball utility player Sam Freeland to score to tie the game at three runs scored apiece. The inning continued with Walsh hitting a single, followed by more aggressive baserunning by the Red Foxes as she swiped second base, putting runners on both second and third. Graduate student utility player Julia Blarr hit an RBI single to left field which gave the Red Foxes their first lead of the game at 4-3. Later, Walsh, with smart base running, scored to put Marist up 5-3 after a caught stealing attempt by junior infielder Morgan Gianelle.
“Honestly I had to take advantage of our team strength which is speed and put our kids in the best position,” said head coach Joe Ausino when asked about the aggressive baserunning.
Down 6-5 in the bottom of the sixth, the Red Foxes trailed by one run when freshman utility player Miah Mcdonald, who was pinch-hitting came to the plate. She started the rally by hitting a single to right field, then was able to advance to second base because of a wild pitch. With two people on base, all Coltrain needed was a base hit to give Marist the lead, but she had other ideas. She blasted a two-run home run to left-center which put the Red Foxes on top to win the first matchup with a score of 8-6.
Game two started off nicely for the Red Foxes. In the bottom of the first inning, Milam singled in senior infielder Caroline Baratta to give the Red Foxes a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, Marist added to the one-run lead as sophomore catcher Meghan Davis hit a solo home run to give the Red Foxes a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, the Peacocks had a collection of hits and scored two runs off junior pitcher Calista Phippen to tie the game at two apiece. The Peacocks would not go unanswered, as junior shortstop Katie Sciglimpaglia hit a two-run home run over the center field wall, giving the Peacocks the lead again at 4-2.
The Red Foxes had an answer for every Peacock call. In the bottom of the fifth, Baratta crushed a home run to lead off the inning and make it a one-run game. With the Red Foxes down to their final two outs and in desperation for offense, Baratta walked and then Freeland singled right, putting two people on base. Coltrain, who proved to be a dangerous hitter with a home run in the first game of the afternoon, answered with yet another. The three-run walk-off home run gave the Red Foxes their second win of the day with a final score of 6-4.
Coach Ausanio only had positive things to say about Coltrain’s delivery in both games this afternoon. “This kid has been on fire. She was the MAAC Player of the Week last week and she just picked up right where she left off. When someones in the zone it’s incredibly fun to watch.”
Phippen achieved her second win of the day in a complete-game effort, tallying seven strikeouts while only walking one batter. The Red Foxes swept the 2-26 Peacocks in the doubleheader to improve to 12-10 on the season. The team is ready to take on the MAAC tournament and their final regular season doubleheader at Siena tomorrow, May 5 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
“We are a dangerous number eight seed. We had almost five weeks off, but we are coming together at the right time. We are hoping to take care of business versus Iona in the opening round,” said Ausanio.
Edited by Bridget Reilly
Photo Credit: Marist Athletics