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USJ Tames Lions In Game Two, Splits Wednesday Doubleheader

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 non-conference doubleheader against the Eastern Nazarene College (ENC) Lions on a beautiful afternoon at the USJ Softball Field Wednesday. 

The Lions were ferocious in game one, taking the win behind a seven-run, fifth-inning rally, 12-4, but the Blue Jays bounced back in game two behind the pitching of junior Julia Annecchiarico (Ludlow, Mass.), solid base running, and a series of acrobatic plays by sophomore third baseman Jenna Masiello (Cromwell, Conn.), winning game two, 6-3.

PLAYER QUOTE [Frankie Ferrante]
"Our goal to finish the season is to tighten up the defense. It really is unlike us to have that many errors. Once we pull that together, I think we have a really good chance. The batting is coming alive, our defense is there, so we are in a good spot."

COACH QUOTE [Jim McKinnon]
"We came out ready to go and focused, some players that haven't played that much got a chance today. That's what we wanted to do. They work hard and they are good players, so we wanted to get them out there. Our defense has to be better though, no question about it. We are not going to win many [GNAC] games like that. Julia pitched a great game in that second game, and we had some good hits."
 
GAME ONE

Score: Eastern Nazarene 12, Saint Joseph 4 - 5 Innings
Records: ENC (19-4), USJ (8-5)
Location: USJ Softball Field | West Hartford, Conn.

KEY MOMENTS

  • Eastern Nazarene struck first with two runs in the first inning on an error and a single, the latter on a well-hit ball towards second base by senior center fielder Rebecca Hayner (Halfmoon, N.Y.). The Lions tacked on a third run in the third to take a commanding 3-0 lead.
  • The Blue Jays answered in the bottom half, as the junior duo of third baseman Julia Annecchiarico and left fielder Frankie Ferrante (Southington, Conn.) slapped a single each. Three runs passed to even the odds at three.
  • The Lions refused to back down, scoring two more in the fourth and seven in the fifth to blow the game open. Those runs came off eight hits in the fifth alone, including three singles and a double. The Blue Jays came back to bat in the bottom of the fifth, scoring a run after Ferrante reached on an error, but it wasn't enough, as game one ended under the mercy rule, 12-4.

IN THE CIRCLE

USJ – Freshman Kelsey Fernandez (Southington, Conn.) took the loss in her first career start, allowing eight runs (4 ER) on nine hits in five and a third innings of work. She also struck out four. Freshman Adriana Quealy (East Hartford, Conn.) made her first career appearance in relief and allowed four runs (3 ER).

ENC – Freshman Jennelle Munoz (Lake Elsinore, Calif.) picked up another win (10-1) to continue her strong start to her collegiate career, allowing three runs (2 ER) on just five hits in four innings of work. Freshman Alexys Giddings (Kuna, Idaho) finished things off with one inning of relief pitching.

GAME TWO

Score: Eastern Nazarene 3, Saint Joseph 6
Records: ENC (19-5), USJ (9-5)
Location: USJ Softball Field | West Hartford, Conn.

KEY MOMENTS

  • The Blue Jays were on the board first with a run in the opening stanza, a RBI single from Masiello to left, giving the home team an early 1-0 advantage.
  • USJ held the lead for several innings before a run in the third and fourth gave the lead to the visitors. Both runs found home plate on errors, two of six total errors on the game for USJ. 2-1 ENC heading into the bottom of the fourth.
  • USJ's bats were ready to come alive. They dealt damage at just the right time, as four runs were driven in to give Saint Joseph the lead and the momentum. Four singles, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly were enough for the Blue Jays to control the pace from there.
  • Annecchiarico received an RBI for a sac fly in foul territory. Heads-up base running throughout the inning made all the difference, from senior second baseman and captain Michelle Woodruff (Southington, Conn.), to junior center fielder Riley Mulligan (Lincoln, R.I.), and junior shortstop Ashlee White (Bristol, Conn.). Annecchiarico kept things cool and clean in the circle down the stretch, and the Blue Jays walked away with a 6-3 game two triumph.

IN THE CIRCLE

USJ – Annecchiarico went the distance in winning fashion (1-1), allowing three runs (1 ER) on four hits and struck out two. She was in several jams over the course of game two, but per usual, found a way to minimize the damage, and gave the Blue Jays a shot at the victory.

ENC  Senior Adriana Montuya (American Canyon, Calif.) was dealt the loss in relief (3-3), allowing four runs on four hits with three walks in an inning of action. Freshman Keira Niestas (Oceanside, Calif.), who started the ballgame, allowed two runs (0 ER) over five innings in a no-decision.

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will get back on the field on Friday, April 30 in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader at Rivier University. The first pitch of game one is set for 4:30 p.m., with game two to follow at 6:30 p.m.

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