Jays Win GNAC Tourney Game with Three Home Runs
NASHUA, N.H. – Ashley Stokes (Middletown, Conn.) had a double, homer and four RBI to help eighth-seeded Saint Joseph College defeat No. 5 Rivier 9-2 Tuesday in the first round of the GNAC tournament at Rivier.
Saint Joseph improved to 18-21 overall while Rivier finished 25-12. Saint Joseph will play No. 4 Johnson & Wales Friday at 2 p.m. at Gordon College in the first game of the double-elimination portion of the tournament. A win would set-up a match-up with top-seeded Emerson, while a loss would put Saint Joseph into an elimination game, Saturday at noon.
"It was a great team win," Saint Joseph coach Jim McKinnon said. "Kristina Torres was outstanding as usual and it was finally good to see our hitting come around."
Saint Joseph rapped 10 hits including three homers as Emily Hummel (Hebron, Conn.) and Ashley Gall (Stafford Springs, Conn.) also went deep for the Blue Jays. The victory came just six days after Saint Joseph was swept at Rivier, 2-1 and 3-0 in regular-season games.
Saint Joseph got off to a quick start, scratching out single runs in the first two innings. Stephanie Valerio (Wolcott, Conn.) got the Blue Jays on the board when she walked in the first inning and eventually scored on a two-out wild pitch. Sarah Miller (Southington, Conn.), walked to lead off the second and came in to score from third two batters later when pitcher Kristina Torres (Groton, Conn.) hit into a force play.
Hummel led off the third with her first collegiate home run to put Saint Joseph up, 3-0. After two infield errors, Stokes doubled home Shauna Sullivan (Rocky Hill, Conn.) to make it 4-0.
The lead went to 5-0 when Gall led off the fifth with a home run – her fourth of the season. After Rivier strung together three hits in the bottom of the fifth that generated two runs, the Blue Jays answered right back as Valerio singled home pinch-runner Emma Polinski (Coventry, Conn.) to make it 6-2.
In the seventh, Sullivan hit a one-out single, Miller doubled and Stokes followed with a three-run homer – her second of the season – to cap the scoring.
Torres struck out six and walked none in a complete game victory. She held Rivier to 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position as the Raiders left eight runners on base.