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Softball Splits Home-Opening Doubleheader With Albertus

Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - April 20, 2021
Photo taken by Steve McLaughlin - April 20, 2021

WEST HARTFORD, Conn.  The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team split a pair of games against intrastate foe Albertus Magnus College (AMC), in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader on the USJ Softball Field Tuesday afternoon.

The Blue Jays, who outscored Anna Maria College 16-0 in a sweep on Sunday, picked up right where they left off, as junior pitcher Natalie Amato (Cheshire, Conn.) threw her second straight three-hit shutout in game one. After a 6-0 win in the opener, the Falcons quickly jumped on junior pitcher Julia Annecchiarico (Ludlow, Mass.), who was making her first start in over 400 days. She fought back valiantly and gave the Blue Jays a fighting chance, but Albertus Magnus ultimately prevailed, 6-3, to earn the split.

COACH QUOTE [Jim McKinnon]
"Our defense was really good in the first game. Not quite as good in the second, but we battled, and I love the heart on this team, the way they compete. We expect to give [Johnson & Wales] a big battle this week. We expect to win every game."

GAME ONE

Score: Albertus Magnus 0, Saint Joseph 6
Records: AMC (3-4, 3-2 GNAC), USJ (4-1, 4-1 GNAC),
Location: USJ Softball Field | West Hartford, Conn.

KEY MOMENTS

  • The Blue Jays took control on offense in the third inning with three big runs. The first came off an RBI double down the left-field line from junior center fielder Riley Mulligan (Lincoln, R.I.). Mulligan later scored on a throwing error after junior shortstop Ashlee White (Bristol, Conn.) reached while attempting to bunt her teammates over. Two batters later sophomore third baseman Jenna Masiello (Cromwell, Conn.) laced a double to right field to bring in the final run of the inning.
  • Senior second baseman and captain Michelle Woodruff (Southington, Conn.) displayed her athleticism with a diving stop on a hard-hit ground ball in the four-hole to lead off the top of the fourth inning. The 4-3 putout put any chance of an AMC rally to rest.
  • The Blue Jays brought home three more insurance runs in the fifth on a hit and four walks, giving Amato more than enough breathing room to mow down her competition.   

IN THE CIRCLE

  • USJ – Natalie Amato threw her second consecutive three-hit shutout in the circle in game one, going the distance with determination and remains spotless (3-0) on the season. Amato's shutout made it 19 straight scoreless innings for USJ pitching.
  • AMC – Sophomore pitcher Karissa Kerrs (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) was dealt the loss (0-1), allowing five runs (4 ER) on four hits in four-plus innings of work.

GAME TWO

Score: Albertus Magnus 6, Saint Joseph 3
Records: AMC (4-4, 4-2 GNAC), USJ (4-2, 4-2 GNAC),
Location: USJ Softball Field | West Hartford, Conn.

KEY MOMENTS

  • The Falcons got on the board in a hurry, with a run coming in the first and second frames, respectively. The first-inning run came off a hit and a pair of fielder's choices, the first from senior pitcher Laura Anderson (East Haven, Conn.). In the second, AMC doubled their advantage on a sacrifice fly from sophomore second baseman Janelle Franklin (Middletown, Conn.). 2-0 AMC.
  • USJ would not go away though. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth, the Blue Jays took a chunk out of that lead with two runs, highlighted by a two-out RBI single down the left-field line from sophomore shortstop Taylor Verboven (Columbia, Conn.). 3-2 AMC after five.
  • Albertus learned its lesson from the first game, capitalizing on three runs in the sixth stanza. Junior catcher Jess Stettinger (East Haven, Conn.) quieted the Blue Jay dugout with a rocket two-RBI double to center. Anderson drove in the final run with a single up the middle. The Blue Jays got a rally going in the seventh, scoring a third run and loading the bases with two outs, but the Falcons did just enough to prevent that rally from reaching its full potential.

IN THE CIRCLE

  • USJ – Despite not starting a softball game in well over a year, Annecchiarico (0-1) settled in and left it all on the field, allowing six runs (4 ER) on nine hits in six innings of work. She struck out two. Freshman Kelsey Fernandez (Southington, Conn.) made her collegiate debut in the circle tossing a clean inning in relief.
  • AMC – Anderson picked up the win (3-2), allowing three runs (1 ER) on seven hits in a complete game effort. She fanned four in the process.

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays are headed to Providence, R.I. for a key GNAC doubleheader with Johnson & Wales University on Thursday, April 22, at 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.   

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