Hackensack, NJ – The Pioneer softball scored five runs, all on homers, to win the first game of Sunday's Northeast Conference double header with Fairleigh Dickinson, 5-2. However, for the second straight day SHU was shutout in game two of a double dip as the Knights claimed the split with a 5-0 victory. Courtney Lee (Camarillo, CA) had the best day at the plate for a Pioneer, going 4-for-7 and launching her team leading sixth homerun of 2011.
Sacred Heart (18-16, 7-3 NEC) got three shutout innings from senior pitcher Jen Russell (Seymour, CT) to start the day as the opening game entered the top of the fourth still scoreless. Annie Dreher (Saugus, CA) would break the deadlock with a two-run homer, also tallying her sixth long ball of the year. The next batter, Nicole Sidor (West Vancouver, BC), made it back-to-back with a homer down the left field line. The Pioneers extended the advantage to 5-0 in the top of the fifth as Lee cranked one over of the fence, also plating Jade Bowins (Frederick, MD).
Fairleigh Dickinson (18-15, 3-7 NEC) finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run double from Marikka Benson. Only one of the runs was earned against Russell as the Knights were aided by a SHU fielding error. Russell finished off the last two innings to pick up her second NEC victory of the weekend and secure the 5-2 triumph for the Pioneers. The right-hander notched six strikeouts as Sacred Heart ended FDU's four game winning streak.
The Knights had the only scoring inning of game two in the bottom of the third, hanging up five runs. Fairleigh Dickinson had five extra base hits in the frame, including three consecutive doubles. Russell came in to pitch the final three innings of the game in relief, allowing no runs and just two hits.
Sacred Heart would be unable to capitalize on the stellar relief and notched just four hits through seven innings against the FDU hurler Caitlin Bradac. Liz Tsipouras (Simi Valley, CA) had two base knocks while Lee and Sidor also singled. Bradac kept the scoreboard clean to improve her record to 8-4 in 2011 and force Sacred Heart to head home with a split.
The Pioneer softball returns to action for a non-conference double header on the road against Yale. First pitch is set for 3:00 pm in New Haven, CT.