Softball Splits NJAC Twinbill in Regular Season Finale
UNION, N.J. – The Kean University softball team closed out the regular season with a split with Rutgers-Camden in a New Jersey Athletic Conference doubleheader on Saturday afternoon. The Cougars (23-17, 10-8 NJAC) won the opener, 10-0, in five innings, while the Scarlet Raptors (17-16, 8-10 NJAC) earned the split with the 3-1 win in the nightcap.
Kean also clinched the fifth-seed in the upcoming NJAC playoffs and will open defense of its back-to-back championships in a rematch of last year's championship game, as the Cougars travel to second-seeded The College of New Jersey on Tuesday, May 1, at 4 p.m.
GAME ONE: Offense Powers Cougars, Yard One-Hits Rutgers-Camden
The Cougars recorded 13 hits and rookie Courtney Yard (pictured left) allowed just one hit to Rutgers-Camden, as Kean scored eight runs in the fourth inning to record the 10-0 win in five innings in the opener.
Kean took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a two-out, two-run homerun by third baseman Courtney Melchionna.
The score remained that way until the fourth inning, when the Cougars exploded for eight more runs, all with two outs. With the bases loaded with two outs, senior shortsop Alicia Banz and sophomore right-fielder Megan Cegielski each followed with well-placed, RBI infield singles. Rookie centerfielder Maria Scopellito kept the inning alive with a two-run single up the middle, before the Cougars closed out the inning with an RBI single by junior second baseman Katie Schuh and a two-run double down the right-field line by sophomore left fielder Sandra Binkiewicz.
Yard (17-11), who retired the first 10 batters of the game, struck out seven and did not allow a walk in the five-inning, shutout win.
At the plate, eight of nine Cougars recorded hits, with five players recording two hits. Melchionna finished 2-of-3 with three RBI and two runs scored, while Scopellito added two hits, two RBI and one run scored. Cegielski (pictured left) had two hits, two runs scored and one RBI and Binkiewicz finished with two hits, two RBI and one scored.
For Rutgers-Camden, right fielder Vicki D'Anduono recorded the lone hit off of Yard with a one-out single in the fourth inning.
GAME TWO: Rutgers-Camden Splits with 3-1 Win in Nightcap
Rutgers-Camden earned the split with a 3-1 win in the nightcap, as the Scarlet Raptors scored single runs in the fifth and seventh innings for the win.
The Scarlet Raptors took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning, as first baseman Christina Tamburrino was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, advanced to second base on the sacrifice bunt by centerfielder Lauren Hatzelhoffer, took advantage of an unoccupied third base and scored on the throwing error for the first run of the game.
An inning and a half later, Kean tied the game at 1-1 when Maria Scopellito led off the inning with a bunt single, advanced to second base on a groundout and scored two batters later on the two-out RBI single to left field by Sandra Binkiewicz.
In the top of the fifth inning, Rutgers-Camden regained the lead on a sacrifice fly by Vicki D'Anduono, scoring second baseman Courtney Ray, who led off the inning with a double.
Rutgers-Camden added the insurance run in the seventh inning RBI double by D'Anduono.
Senior right-hander Amanda Cassella (8-8) earned the complete-game victory, scattering eight hits with eight strikeouts, and allowing no walks. Tamburrino had two hits and scored twice, while D'Anduono was 1-of-3 with two RBI.
For Kean, Scopellito was 2-of-4 with one run scored, while Binkiewicz was 2-of-3 with one RBI. Alicia Banz added two hits.
The Cougars also wore pink uniforms and sold t-shirts in support of breast cancer awareness in the team's annual Bat for the Battle game.