Marist Softball sweeps weekend series

After putting up 34 runs last weekend, expectations were high on the Marist offense to deliver in this weekend’s UMBC First Pitch Kickoff Classic, and they certainly delivered.

But unlike last weekend, it was not just Rebecca Freeman bolstering the production, but everyone in the lineup contributed, as all are clearly looking to impress coach Joe Ausanio before Claire Oberdorf makes her return after the end of another successful season starting for Marist basketball.

As per usual for the Foxes, the first game of the series proved to be the closest.

For most of the game it was all Marist, starting in the 2nd inning as Janna Korak reached on a walk, then Morgan Kelliher would reach first safely on a fielder’s choice. From there coach Ausanio turned to his bag of tricks, calling for a sacrifice bunt Ali Milam, who was able to move up Korak and Kelliher safely while getting out at first.

So what’s better than one bunt? Two bunts! As Brandi Coon would lay down a bunt of her own, reaching first safely to load the bases. Brittney Colombo would force a bases loaded walk to bring in the first run of the game for the Foxes.

Just an inning later, Marist would strike again, as Casey Page would lead off the inning with a single up the middle, she would be moved up to second on a groundout by Miranda Perez, then Rebecca Freeman would move her to third, ripping a single up the middle. Page would then use her speed to her advantage, hustling towards home on a wild pitch by Nicole Casagrand and sliding in safely, putting Marist up by 2.

But Marist still was not done with the early offense, as they would quickly get two runs in scoring position in the 4th on a double to right by Milam and a single to left center by Coon, who would then steal second soon after. Brittney Colombo would bring two more runs, this time on a ground ball to reliever Kim Puccio, who would throw the ball away, allowing for both Coon and Milam to come in. As Marist would build its lead to 4.

After 4 shutdown innings, starter Jayne Oberdorf would face some trouble, giving up a solo shot to left off the bat of Tori Alexander in the bottom of the 5th, then in the 6th Maddie Daigneau would walk and Kaelin Jackson would reach on a Fielder’s choice, forcing coach Ausanio to pull Oberdorf. Megan Beirmeister would come in relief, but quickly give up a two run triple by Lesko and cutting the Marist lead to 1.

Beirmeister would hold down the fort, forcing back to back ground outs to end the inning. She would finish the game from there, as Marist would win the first game of the series against UMBC by a score of 4 to 3.

The game would be Oberdorf’s first winning decision on the season, as she gave up just three hits and one walk over 5 innings of work.

Marist’s second starting pitcher, Jessica Van Alphen, would not have to worry as much about getting run support, as the Red Fox bats would certainly look stronger in their second game on the day.

As it would only take Marist two innings to leave a mark that the Retrievers couldn’t come back from. As Korak and Milam would start the inning with back to back singles. After a sac groundout by Kourtney Paul moved the two runners into scoring position, Coon would load the bases grounding to third baseman Jackson, who would mishandle the grounder as Coon would reach safely.

Amanda Sartori would then put the first run on the board, singling to left to bring in Korak from third. Then Madison Lee would add a single of her own up the middle to push the lead to 2, Miranda Perez would then add yet another single, ripping a shot to center to push the lead even further.

But wait, there’s more! As Rebecca Freeman would crack a single down the left field line, bringing in two runs and advancing to second on a throwing error by right fielder Lane, putting up a solid five spot in just the second inning.

Marist would work to further their lead, as Sartori would rip another RBI single past the shortstop just an inning later. Then Lee would bring in Marist’s 7th run of the game on an RBI groundout to 2nd in the 5th inning.

The Retrievers would finally get on the board on a two run double to right center by Lesko, but that would barely leave a dent on the pitching performance Van Alphen put forth, pitching a complete game while striking out 5 as the Red Foxes would win by a score of 7 to 2, sweeping the Saturday matchup against UMBC.

If you thought the Marist Offense was finished with its onslaught, then you don’t know the Marist Offense.

As on Sunday they would take on the Coppin State Bald Eagles in a two game series, a team they already took on in the beginning of the season, and it showed.

The first three innings remained relatively quiet, as the only run came off the bat off Jade Sinskul in the second inning, ripping a double to center field, bringing in Paul all the way from third.

Then in the fourth inning, the offense would reign down upon the Bald Eagles, as the Red Foxes would put up 6 runs to blow the game open.

The outburst would take place right away, as Korak would take one deep to left field for a solo shot to start the inning. The Red Foxes would then quickly load the bases as Paul would reach on a Fielder’s Choice, then Sinskul and Colombo would reach on singles.

Coon knew what to do on the first pitch, ripping a single to left field to bring in Paul, boosting Marist’s lead to three.

It was then Gabrielle Kelliher’s to leave a dent. And she did not disappoint.

Blasting a grand slam to left field off reliever Patricia Soria who just replaced Arianna Alderete to heighten the lead to 7.

Marist would add an 8th run in the top of the 6th on an error by Ochoa, but starter Kallen Leeseburg only needed one as she would pitch a complete game shutout, striking out 9 and earning her first win on the season. Leeseburg now has 2 complete games and an 0.67 ERA on the season.

If you thought the first game brought a lot of offensive punch, then you still don’t understand the Marist Offense.

As the barrage of scoring started right away, as after a walk by Page, and single by Perez, Ausanio would catch the Bald Eagles off guard, calling for a steal by Perez who would get thrown out at second, but that would give Page just enough time to speed home for the first run of the game.

Coppin State would quickly tie it up in the bottom of the 2nd on an RBI groundout by Melanie Benge, but from there the game just went off the rails for the Bald Eagles.

As Marist would quickly get a threat going in the 4th. Freeman would rip a single to center, and Kelliher would quickly follow with a double, advancing to third after an error by Ochoa bringing in Freeman for the second run for the Foxes. After a bunt single by Milam, Sartori would fly out to right, bringing in Kelliher from third to boost the lead to two.

Coppin State would bring the deficit to one again in the bottom of the 4th on an RBI single by Camille Ochoa, but Marist would just respond with more runs

Page would start off the 5th with a single to left, Perez would once again follow Page with a single of her own up the middle. Both runners would move up on a sacrifice groundout by Freeman, then with Korak at the plate, Megan Navarez’s pitch would get past catcher Nicole Ullman, as Page would once again use her speed to her advantage, coming in for the fourth run.

Korak would quickly make that five, singling to left for an RBI of her own.

Then the 6th inning came around, and the Foxes would show no mercy.

As Sartori would start the inning off with a bang, getting the green light on a 3-0 count and knocking a double to right center. Paul would then single to left field, putting runners on the corner for Colombo, who would rip a single to center to bring in a run. After a ground out to 2nd by Page would move Paul and Colombo into scoring position, Perez would take advantage, singling to left to bring in Paul.

Freeman would soon force a walk, as Korak would come to the plate looking to knock in another run, but she would have to settle for a bases loaded RBI walk. Extending the lead to 6.

Then Milam would take the first pitch of her at bat to left, singling in Perez for Marist’s 4th run on the inning, as they would enter the 7th with a comfortable 7-run lead.

But the Foxes were hungry for double digits, as they would quickly load the bases on a walk by Paul, and singles by Colombo and Page. Perez would ground out to reliever DakotaGatrell who would throw out Paul at home. But the bases would still be loaded.

Sinskul would quickly change that, coming into the game to pitch hit for Freeman, singling to center to bring in Marist’s 10th run of the game. The second straight weekend they would get at least 1 game where they scored in double digits. But Korak wouldn’t just settle for 10, hitting into a fielder’s choice to bring in Page for the Foxes 11th and final run of the game.

As the Marist pitching staff would take care of business, as Megan Beirmeister would give up just 2 runs and 5 hits through five innings, striking out 4. Beirmeister now moves to 4-0 on the year, with a 1.75 ERA.

The Foxes are now 9-4 on the year, as they will travel to Hawaii for the next week for the University of Hawaii Spring Fling and the Rainbow Wahine Classic. The first game takes place on Friday against Toledo at 8:30 p.m.

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