NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team defeated the Bay Path University Wildcats, 5-1, in a non-conference duel on the CCSU Softball Field at Central Connecticut State University on Thursday afternoon. With the victory the Blue Jays improve to 4-5 overall on the season, while the Wildcats slip to 4-7 with the setback.
The Blue Jays wasted little time, striking first with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning to jump out to an early 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs, USJ took advantage of a Bay Path fielding error off the bat of sophomore Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) to bring in the first two runs of the game.
The Wildcats answered right back and pushed across a run in the top half of the second to trim the deficit to 2-1. USJ walked the bases loaded to begin the frame and then a RBI single by senior Krystal Fredette (Orange, Mass.) drove in Bay Path's first run of the game. Freshman starting pitcher Nathalia Vega (Waterbury, Conn.) escaped any further damage though by inducing two ground outs to third and a fly out to right to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
St. Joseph tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to extend its lead to 4-1. A pair of walks wrapped around a single by junior Sarah Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) loaded the bases, before sophomore Rachel Dube (Southington, Conn.) laced a two-RBI single to left center field and extend the lead.
Freshman Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) capped the scoring in the game and she did so in a big way after she hit the first home run of the season for the Blue Jays. The rookie sent a line drive bullet over the left center field fence for her first career round-tripper and to account for the 5-1 final margin.
Sharon also picked up the victory inside the circle for the Blue Jays, coming on in relief of Vega in the top of the fourth inning. Sharon spun the final four frames, while allowing just two hits, one walk and struck out five. She did not surrender a run. Vega worked the first three innings of the contest and gave up just one run on two hits and four walks.
Freshman Felicia Gaillardetz (Londonderry, N.H.) pitched a complete game for Bay Path. She surrendered five runs (three earned) on five hits and nine walks, while striking out nine Blue Jays.
Dube picked up the clutch hit for USJ in the victory and finished the game 1-for-1 with a pair of walks and two RBI. Ercoli was the lone Blue Jay to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Fredette and junior Lauren Vallee (Bristol, Conn.) recorded multi-hit efforts for Bay Path. Fredette went 2-for-3 with a RBI and Vallee finished 2-for-4.
The USJ softball team will return to the diamond next on Saturday when they open up Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play against Anna Maria. Time of first pitch is TBD.