Rider University 9, Lafayette College 1 / 5 innings
Rider University 13, Lafayette College 5 / 5 innings
LAWRENCEVILLE--The Rider University softball team swept Lafayette College in a non-conference doubleheader at Herb and Joan Young Field Tuesday afternoon.
"The games were awesome," said head coach Tricia Carroll. "The bats came around and we adjusted to the pitching by not trying to do too much."
For Rider (18-25-1) in the opener, freshman Madison Rittley (Pennington/Hopewell Valley Central), making her first start of the season, went three for three with four RBI with sophomore Kehli Washington (Lulea, Sweden/New Rochelle), junior Alyssa Paul (Toms River/Toms River HS East), sophomore Ally Coryell (Ewing) and sophomore Lisa Blanton (Hilliard, Fla./Hilliard) each collecting two of the 13 Bronc hits.
Paul extended her hitting streak to nine games with Washington compiling four hits on the day.
"The day went really well," Rittley said. "I really went in with no expectations and just wanted to make sure I didn't strikeout."
"Madison did a nice job today," said Carroll. "She works very hard and listens at practice and tries to do the things that we ask her to do. We wanted to give her a chance today to show what she can do and gain her some confidence. It is important that we know we can call on someone and that person is ready to go when their number is called. That just makes us a much more dangerous team."
The Broncs broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second inning with five hits, scoring three times including a two-run single by Rittley.
Rider took advantage of two Leopard errors and bunched together three hits to open up an 8-0 lead with Blanton hitting an RBI single and Rittley adding her second two-run single of the game.
Leading 8-1 in the fifth inning, Paul hit an RBI single up the middle to end the game on the eight-run mercy rule.
Senior Rachael Matreale (Williamstown) threw the five-inning, four hit complete game for her 16th win of the season, recording six strikeouts while allowing no walks.
"The pitching did well," Rittley said. "Offensively, we were able to string our hits together and I think that's what really helped us get the win in both games."
Rider pounded out a season-high 17 hits and 13 runs in taking the nightcap 13-5.
Senior Lucy Higgins (Westminster, Mass./Notre Dame Academy) went three for three with three RBI and two runs scored with Washington, freshman Allysen Breeden (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown), freshman Gina McCool (Marlton/Cherokee), junior Heather Muscara (North Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham) and senior Kelsey Krisch (Parker, Colo./Council Rock HS North) all collecting two hits. Muscara extended her hitting streak to seven games.
Washington, McCool and Muscara also scored twice with Breeden adding three RBI.
"It was great that we 'mercy ruled' them in back to back games," Breeden, a three-time MAAC Rookie of the Week honoree said. "It shows that our bats can come alive and that we can hit good pitching. It was important that everyone made adjustments as the game went on."
"We just have all of the confidence in the world that Allysen is going to get a hit and come through for us," Carroll said about her leading hitter. "Will she always come through? Of course not but it feels like she will and that is because she has done a great job and has played big for us."
Rider jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second inning on six hits and one Lafayette error, the big hit a two-run single by freshman Lauren Davies (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seneca Valley).
The Broncs added four more runs in the third inning, taking advantage of two more Lafayette errors and a three-run double by Breeden as Rider opened up a 10-0 lead.
Lafayette bunched six of its nine hits in the fourth inning, cutting Rider's lead to 10-4 before Higgins hit an RBI double and combined with a Lafayette wild pitch, Rider had a 12-4 advantage after four innings.
Two hits and a Bronc error in the fifth inning temporarily staved off the mercy rule with Lafayette scoring once to make it 12-5 before Higgins ended the game with an RBI single to center field in the bottom of the fifth.
Krisch picked up the win, her first of the season, working five innings, scattering nine hits while recording three strikeouts.
"With everyone in the batting order contributing, you are going to put up a few runs," said Carroll. "Hitting is contagious and we showed that today. Every at-bat is important as we head back into conference play this weekend."
Rider and Lafayette have now met 60 times on the softball diamond with the Broncs winning 43. Lafayette defeated Rider at the Rebel Spring Games on March 16, 2011 by a 5-2 score and won 6-5 in 10 innings at the Rebel Games on March 18, 2010. The teams last met in Lawrenceville on March 11, 2009 with Lafayette winning the opener 7-5 and Rider taking the nightcap 6-0. The teams last met in Easton, Pa., on April 1, 2008 when the Leopards swept the doubleheader, 8-0 and 9-1.
Rider travels to Monmouth on Wednesday for a non-conference doubleheader at 3pm.
"We gained confidence today with our bats," Breeden added. "To put up that many runs was good and hopefully we will continue to take the same approach on Wednesday and heading into the conference weekend."
"We had some nice easy swings," Carroll said about the offense that pounded out 30 hits (10 percent of the season production) in today's doubleheader. "I wish and hope that we remember our approach at the plate and continue to do that at Monmouth and in the MAAC games this coming weekend."
The final home games of the 2012 season will take place on Saturday when the Broncs face Siena in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader beginning at 1pm.
"We want to tighten up the base running a bit," Carroll said about some of the things to be worked on in the next few games. "On defense, there were a couple of balls that reached the outfield where all we had to do was catch it, pick the ball up and hit a glove. Monmouth is good and we have to be ready to go. It will be a good test on Wednesday."
In between games of the doubleheader on Saturday, Rider will honor its four graduating seniors, Matreale, Krisch, Higgins and Samantha Mayer (Neptune).