On a sunny and windy Wednesday afternoon, the Marist Red Foxes faced the Fairfield Stags in their first set of matchups this season. Coming off the weekend where Marist beat Monmouth 16-0, today, they came up short on the offensive end. The Stags won both games, the first one 5-3 and the second one 3-2.
In both games, the Red Foxes scored first, but were unable to hold those leads, and add much more run support for their pitching. What also didn’t help the Marist pitching was the combined five errors that were committed by the Red Foxes, four in the first game, one in the second.
The Red Foxes got off to a good start in the bottom of the first inning after sophomore third baseman Miah McDonald hit a chopper that managed to get past Stags senior shortstop Madison Robicheau for a base hit, scoring two runners which were junior catcher Shea Walsh and graduate student shortstop Caroline Baratta.
It wasn’t until the top of the fourth inning, where the Stags managed to get a run on the board. It started with a single from Stags first baseman Lauryn Rhinehart, after advancing to second on a groundout, freshman outfielder Ella Watson came in to pinch run for Rhinehart. Right after that, graduate student second baseman Mikayla Rubin hit one into right field for a single, advancing Watson to third.
Red Foxes junior pitcher Kiley Myers, needed just one more out to get out of this jam with runners on first and third. Unfortunately for Myers freshman, first baseman Maddie Gore dropped a routine line drive, allowing Watson to score, to make the score 2-1. Gore went on to drop another ball right after, but Myers was able to get out of a bases loaded jam, without giving up any more runs.
McDonald came up with another RBI in the bottom of the fifth inning, when she hit a sacrifice fly, which allowed Walsh to score from third, and junior center fielder Sam Freeland to move from second to third giving the Red Foxes a 3-1 lead. Marist freshman Maddie Pleasants had a big opportunity to break the game open for Marist with runners on second and third, but came up short and grounded out to Stags senior pitcher Katie Kudlacik to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, sophomore third baseman Kasey Sekula drove in senior outfielder Kaitlin Hoffman off a bases loaded sac fly that just missed clearing the fence, making the score 3-2 Fairfield.
Myers needed three more outs to go the distance and win the first game of the doubleheader. Unfortunately, she ran out of gas and Fairfield capitalized on it. After putting runners on first and second, junior catcher Megan Forbes came up with a towering shot to left field over left fielder Hailee Jantorno’s head, scoring the two runners for a double, making it 4-3 Fairfield. Then, Sekula drove in a runner off a bases-loaded sac fly that just missed clearing the fence, and made the score 5-3 Fairfield. In the bottom of the seventh the Red Foxes went down in order, and gave Fairfield the victory in game one.
The second game was not as high scoring, but just as painful for the Red Foxes, as the Stags pulled off another decisive victory. In similar fashion to the first game, Marist scored first in the bottom of the second inning off a double by sophomore second baseman Alyssa Grupp, giving the Red Foxes a 1-0 lead.
But in the top of the third inning, a dropped fly ball by Jantorno led to two runs scoring, making it 2-1 Stags. Right after that, a rocket two out single from Forbes goes past Baratta, and scores another run making it 3-1 Fairfield.
After that, the Red Foxes were unable to muster any runs until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Pleasants hit a solo home run to make it 3-2, but it wouldn’t be enough, as the Stags closed out the second game winning decisively 3-2, finishing off the sweep.
“I mean, it’s obviously a concern because you know, none of the plays were difficult,” said head coach Joe Ausanio when discussing his frustration with the defensive miscues. “I think that that’s the thing that’s the most disheartening when you have routine fly balls that get dropped and you have routine pop ups that get dropped; that just can’t happen at this level.”
The Red Foxes are now 16-24 on the season and their next matchup will take place on Saturday at home against the Siena Saints who are 18-16, and 11-5 on the road. Those games will take place at noon and 2 p.m.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez
Photo from Luke Sassa