Fairfield, CT – The SHU softball team picked up a 2-1 win in the opening game of a Northeast Conference double header with Monmouth Saturday afternoon but fell, 12-3, in game two. Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) tossed a complete game in SHU's victory and did not surrender an earned run. Freshman Kirsten Savage (Harrington Park, NJ) had the game winning hit for the Pioneers with a two RBI single in the second inning.
Monmouth (12-11, 3-1 NEC) would strike first in the top of the second inning as the leadoff hitter reached second base on a Pioneer fielding error. Colleen Kelly made it 1-0 with a run scoring single through the left side. Russell ended the Hawks threat with one of her three strikeouts, catching Chelsea Paprocki looking to end the frame.
Sacred Heart (14-12, 3-1 NEC) immediately answered in the bottom of the second and the rally started with a Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) leadoff walk. Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC) and Shannon McCoy (Yorba Linda, CA) each posted back-to-back singles to load the bases. Savage laced the first pitch she saw down the right field line to plate a pair of runs and put SHU on top, 2-1.
The Hawks best chance to cut into the Sacred Heart advantage came in the top of the fifth. The visitors put together back-to-back two-out hits followed by an intentional walk to load the bases. Russell escaped the jam by inducing a harmless ground ball from Shannon Fitzgerald. Russell moved her record to 7-7 on the season and SHU took home the 2-1 win without allowing a Hawk to reach scoring position in the final two innings.
Monmouth started game two with a leadoff triple to right center off the bat of Christine Scherr. Kalya Kuzma picked up the RBI two batters later with a sacrifice fly to give the Hawks the early 1-0 edge.
The Pioneers got the runs back in the bottom of the fourth as another scoring inning started with a Tsipouras walk. Jasmin Vicente (Wantagh, NY) came up as a pinch hitter and rolled a ball to shortstop, but a throwing error put both Tsipouras and Vicente in scoring position. Sidor tied the game at 1-1 with a RBI single down the left field line. SHU went up 2-1 after the Hawk center fielder dropped a fly ball and went up 3-1 following a triple from Marissa Montemagni (Chicopee, MA).
The Hawks got the runs back quicly in the top of the fifth as Emily deLong followed a bunt single with a two run homer to even the score line at 3-3. Sidor, the SHU game two starter, recorded a two-out strikeout but a passed ball allowed the inning to continue. Monmouth capitalized and pushed across two more runs to go up 5-3. The Hawks blew the game open in the sixth, touching up Russell for five runs in relief. MU tacked on one more in the seventh to cruise to the 12-3 win and force a split for the afternoon.
Taylor Lane (Lisbon, CT) came out of the bullpen to toss a scoreless inning of relief for Sacred Heart. The loss snapped a streak for Sidor in which she had picked up a win in five straight appearances.
The Pioneer softball team returns to action for another NEC double header tomorrow afternoon against Mount St. Mary's. First pitch is set for 12:00 pm, both teams will wear pink in an effort to "strikeout cancer" and raise money for the American Cancer Society.