Red Foxes Split Doubleheader with Saints In Two Action-Filled Games 

Yesterday, the Marist softball team took on their biggest test of the season as they traveled to Loudonville to face off against a MAAC powerhouse, the Siena Saints. 

Both teams came into this contest in good form as they were both tied at 5-1 for the best record in the MAAC. Siena had won 12 of their last 14 games while Marist had won nine of their last 11. These two games ahead proved to be pivotal when it came to standings in the MAAC. 

Unfortunately for Marist, game one ended in agony as they lost 5-3 in 11 innings, a bitter end to a game that felt like a marathon. However, in the second game, Marist earned an 8-5 win in the second game. 

Most of the first game was a duel between the two pitchers who both gave two gutsy performances going the whole game. Marist graduate student Calista Phippen threw ten innings, giving up seven hits, five runs, five walks, nine strikeouts (one of which was the 500th of her career), and threw 113 pitches. 

Redshirt freshman Alissa Eimont of Siena threw 11 innings, giving up seven hits, three runs, nine walks, nine strikeouts, and threw a colossal 165 pitches. 

Early on in the game, after Marist failed to score a run (a common theme in this game) in the first leaving the bases loaded, Siena made them pay shortly after. In the bottom half of the inning, a leadoff single from junior center fielder Isballa Pardo, and then a sacrifice bunt from sophomore right fielder McKenzie Swinson advanced Pardo to second. 

Coming to the plate was graduate student left fielder Ava Fitzmaurice, who came into this game hitting .393, hit a flyout to right field, which was caught by senior right fielder Shea Walsh, but as Pardo advanced to third, Walsh made a poor throw resulting in Pardo scoring a run. The costly error from Walsh gave Siena an early 1-0 lead. 

The game remained rather uneventful until the fourth inning when Phippen ran into trouble. It started when Fitzmaurice led off the inning with a home run just barely over the left-field fence. But the Saints weren’t done yet, as freshman first baseman Emma Petersen hit one in nearly the same spot as Fitzmaurice for another solo home run and Siena increased their lead to 3-0 by the end of the inning. 

But the Red Foxes would answer right back in the fifth inning. It started with a one-out walk from freshman center fielder Peyton Pusey. Next up was senior shortstop Sam Freeland who reached base with a single. Then redshirt freshman first baseman Haley Ahr was up with a chance to do some damage. Thanks to the mishandling of the ball from senior catcher Jocelyn Ulrich behind the plate, the runners advanced to second and third. 

Ahr then hit a hard grounder past the diving third baseman senior Angelina Stile, both runners scored, and Ahr came up clutch with an RBI double– the score was now 3-2. 

In the sixth inning, the Red Foxes had a chance to tie the game with runners on first and second with two outs and Pusey at the plate. Marist thought they were about to tie the game, but an incredible diving catch by Fitzmaurice in left field put that thought to bed, as the Red Foxes squandered another opportunity. 

Marist would have one last chance to tie or take the lead entering the seventh inning down 3-2. Back-to-back base hits from Freeland and Ahr put runners on first and third with no outs for the Red Foxes. 

Next up was sophomore designated player Maddie Pleasants, she hit a flyball to center field, and Marist head coach Joe Ausanio sent Freeland home, and although it looked like Pardo got the throw and Ulrich made the tag, Freeland was called safe. It was a call that was made much to the dismay of Siena head coach Casey Bump, who was very upset with the questionable result. 

This game would go to extra innings. In the ninth, the Red Foxes would have their best chance to take the lead with the bases loaded and no outs. Pleasants again had a big opportunity to come through. In a similar fashion to her last at-bat, she hit a fly ball to left field, but Ausanio didn’t send Pusey home from third, not wanting to take the gamble. 

The next batter was junior second baseman Alyssa Grupp who hit one in the same direction to Fitzmaurice in left field, but this time Ausanio took the gamble sending Pusey home, and it would prove to be costly as Fitzmaurice made a great throw home completing the double play. 

In the 11th inning, a base hit from Petersen led to a walk-off home run by Ulrich who went to the opposite field, hitting it over the left field wall as they would win the first game 5-3. Marist can blame no one but themselves as they left 13 runners on base. 

The second game was a back-and-forth contest between the two. It started early when Pleasants hit a single down the right-field line in the first inning, scoring Pusey to make it 1-0. Then Siena answered right back in the second inning as Ulrich hit a solo home run to tie the game.

Then in the third inning, Ahr continued her hot streak with a solo home run to make it 2-1 Red Foxes. The Saints responded yet again with an RBI single from senior second baseman Shannon Bonewit who hit one into left center and tied the game at two.

Later on in the sixth inning, Marist finally got the lead back by more than a run as they scored three runs thanks to an RBI single from senior left fielder Hannah Brock, freshman catcher Isabella Manory stealing home, and an RBI single from Pusey. The Red Foxes took a 5-2 lead. 

But the Saints managed to tie the game yet again with three runs of their own, thanks to junior outfielder Mikala Fletcher who hit a single into left-center, scoring a run, and then a two-RBI single up the middle from Fitzmaurice evened the score. Siena showed throughout the game that they would not be put away without a fight. At the end of six innings, the score was 5-5. 

In the seventh Marist would tack on three more runs, two coming from a sacrifice fly and a sacrifice bunt, and another coming from Walsh who hit one into right-center for an RBI double. The Red Foxes would finally hold on as they finished this game with a final score of 8-5. 

Marist avoided the sweep and stayed tied atop the MAAC standings with Siena at 6-2. The Red Foxes’ next set of games is on Tuesday at home as they take on Seton Hall in a non-conference matchup. 

Edited by Ricardo Martinez

Photo from Marist Athletics

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