NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team swept the Mount Ida College Mustangs in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader at the CCSU Softball Field on Sunday afternoon. The sweep increases the Blue Jays current winning streak to eight games as they downed the Mustangs 2-0 in game one and 2-1 in game two. With the victories, USJ improves to 11-5 overall and 6-0 in the GNAC, while Mount Ida falls to 7-10 and 1-3 in the league.
GAME 1 - USJ 2, Mount Ida 0
A pair of runs pushed across by the Blue Jays in the bottom of first inning would prove to be all USJ would need as freshman hurler Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) pitched a complete game three-hit shutout to power the Blue Jays to a 2-0 victory in the opening game on Sunday.
Sophomore Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) led off the game with a bang, lacing a double to right center field, followed by a walk from classmate Isabela Russo (Southington, Conn.) to get things started for the Blue Jays. Junior Sarah Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) moved Skoly and Russo up a base with a successful sacrifice bunt and Sharon stepped in next and cashed in with a two-RBI double down the left field line to give USJ the 2-0 victory.
Mount Ida's best chance to score came in the top of the fourth inning. A USJ error followed by a single from senior Kaitlyn Muhlenforth (Bohemia, N.Y.) put runners on first and second with one out. However, Sharon wouldn't be phased and recorded a pair of strikeouts to get out of the inning unscathed.
Sharon was dominant in the circle for the Blue Jays en route to picking up her ninth win of the season (9-2). She fired a complete game three-hit shutout, didn't allow a walk and struck out four. The rookie faced just five batters over the minimum.
Senior Nicole Handzel (Palmer, Mass.) started and took the loss for the Mustangs to fall to 6-4 on the season. She allowed two runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out five Blue Jays.
At the plate, Sharon helped herself out driving in both RBI of the game. She finished 1-for-2 with a double, walk and two RBI. Skoly picked up a multi-hit game in the game one victory. She went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Freshman Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) added a double and finished 1-for-3.
GAME 2 - USJ 2, Mount Ida 1
Sophomore Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) drove in the game-winning run with a two-out, RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth inning to lift the Blue Jays to a 2-1 victory in the second game and complete the sweep on Sunday.
Tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, sophomore Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) led off the inning with a double into the left center field gap and represented the go-ahead run. After Handzel posted back-to-back strikeouts, Skoly stepped in and ripped the first pitch she saw up the middle past a diving shortstop to bring home Klimaszewski for the 2-1 victory.
Mount Ida got on the board first in game two, scoring their lone run of the afternoon in the top of the third inning. Senior Emma Morton (Winchester, Mass.) laced a double to right center to begin the inning and then would come around to score on a RBI sacrifice fly from classmate Lucianna Medici (Riverside, R.I.) to take an early 1-0 lead.
The Blue Jays tied the game, 1-1, and set up for Skoly's dramatic when they answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) smacked a double down the right field line, was moved over to third after a successful sacrifice bunt from junior Sarah Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) and then was driven in on a RBI single to left field by freshman Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.).
Sharon picked up her second victory of the afternoon after firing another complete game to improve her record to a GNAC-best 10-2. She surrendered just one run on eight hits, didn't allow a walk and struck out four. She now boasts a league leading 1.65 ERA for the season.
Handzel suffered the loss and falls to 6-5 for the Mustangs. She gave up two runs on five hits without issuing a walk and struck out eight Blue Jays.
Skoly finished 1-for-3 with the game-winning RBI. Sharon posted the lone multi-hit bid for USJ, going 2-for-3 with a RBI. Russo and Klimaszewski each added a double and a run scored.
The USJ softball team will look to keep things rolling when they return to the diamond next in a key GNAC doubleheader on the road at intrastate rival Albertus Magnus on Wednesday. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 3 p.m.