A day that was filled with eagerness and jubilation after a long wait, the Marist Red Foxes took on the Monmouth Hawks in a best of three series in the MAAC Quarterfinals.
Going into the game, Monmouth was listed as the number one seed with a 25-7 record while the Red Foxes came into the tournament as the number eight seed with a 12-10 record.
The first game was quite eventful as it started with a lot of fireworks but ended with Marist edging it out by a score of 5-3. In the second game, the Red Foxes were dominant, winning 6-1 after a great outing on the mound by sophomore pitcher Meghan Haff.
The first game was set up to be a good one as both teams sent out their best pitchers to the mound, the Red Foxes with junior pitcher Calista Phippen and Monmouth with senior pitcher Alyssa Irons.
Most of the action happened in the first inning, as both teams came out swinging putting a dent in the scoreboard. In the top of the first inning, the Red Foxes were in attack mode. It started with a ground out by the red hot junior catcher Kaley Coltrain who grounded out with runners on first and third, but after she was out at first, the throw home went past the catcher which allowed senior shortstop Caroline Baratta to score making it 1-0.
This was followed up by an RBI single by sophomore right fielder Shea Walsh. The last run of the inning came from freshman third baseman Miah McDonald who drilled a two-out double down the left-field, scoring Walsh making it 3-0 Red Foxes. The Red Foxes did all of this against a pitcher with a 15-4 record coming into the game.
In the bottom of the first inning, Phippen started off comfortably getting the first two outs, but then Monmouth struck back with a two-out rally. Getting back-to-back base hits from senior catcher Erika Coreth and senior right fielder Tommi Stowers. After that, a pop-up to left field was dropped by junior left fielder Hailee Jantorno which resulted in both Monmouth runners scoring making it 3-2. After that freshman, Devin Coia drove in the tying run off an RBI double, making it 3-3.
The Red Foxes didn’t let the tie stand for long, in the top of the second inning the Red Foxes recaptured the lead after getting some runners on base by playing small ball with sacrifice bunts to move runners over.
It was sophomore second baseman Sam Freeland who drove the runner in with a sacrifice fly to score Jantoro giving the Red Foxes a 4-3 lead. Phippen would go on to retire 15 straight Monmouth hitters between the first and sixth innings. In the process, the Red Foxes were able to give Phippen a little more breathing room in the top of the fifth inning when Coltrain belted her ninth home run of the season giving the Red Foxes a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Phippen was starting to lose her command of the strike zone and allowed Monmouth to load the bases with two outs. Despite being in a big pressure cooker situation, Phippen didn’t flinch as she forced a line out to third base ending the game giving Marist the first win of the series.
Game two was more of the same, but this time the Red Foxes were in control from start to finish, as they kept their foot on the gas determined to come out on top victorious.
In the top of the second inning, the Red Foxes were able to get Haff some run support, as they scored three runs, after hitting back-to-back singles freshman left fielder Alyssa Grupp drove in the first run of the game for a 1-0 lead. That was followed up by a big two-run double from Baratta which gave the Red Foxes a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third inning, Monmouth responded with a two-out RBI single from Coreth cutting the Marist lead to 3-1. Although Haff struggled with her command in the early stages of the game she bounced back with a vengeance. She went on to retire ten straight Monmouth hitters from the third to the sixth inning and was really in a zone during that stage of the game. Haff went the distance striking out eight, and giving up only three hits as well.
The Red Foxes closed out the game in the bottom of the seventh inning victorious as they managed to beat a Monmouth team who was loaded with talent. The Red Foxes outhit Monmouth 13-3 in the second game, and the only Marist starter to not get a hit was Coltrain who was 0-1 with three walks, two of which were intentional.
“This is a great day for our program,” head coach Joe Ausanio said. “I can’t say enough how proud I am of these kids.”
“We’re halfway done, and we’re not gonna celebrate like we just won the World Series,” Ausanio reiterated.
Up next, Marist will join the other three quarterfinal winners in a double-elimination format that will start on Thursday, which will be hosted by the highest remaining seed.
Edited by Nick Stanziale
Photo from Marist College Athletics