Monmouth University 11, Rider University 3
LAWRENCEVILLE--It's not a fish story against the in-state rival from down the shore. But it is a story of one that got away.
The Monmouth University softball team broke a 1-1, sixth inning tie and scored 10 times in the final two frames, taking advantage of three Rider errors as the Hawks defeated the Broncs 11-3 on Wednesday afternoon at Herb and Joan Young Field in Lawrenceville.
Rider (2-12) made six errors in the game, leading to seven unearned runs.
"Definitely one that got away," said head coach Tricia Carroll after the game. "Seriously, how disappointing was that? You hold a lineup like that to four hits (and one unearned run) through five innings and the final result is 11-3. It's frustrating and I don't really know what to say. We were in it."
Monmouth (8-3) broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning on a two-out throwing error.
The Broncs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking advantage of a Monmouth error after sophomore Gina McCool (Marlton/Cherokee) walked and sophomore Amanda Irving (Westminster, Md./Westminster) followed with a one out double. Rider was unable to sustain the rally and left the bases loaded, three of seven runners left on base in the game.
"We take the lead with the bases loaded in the fifth and you never know what would have happened," Carroll said. "We were in the game against a really good team and didn't play a complete seven innings. Hopefully the team takes from the game that we can play with anybody if we play all seven."
After a Rider pitching change in the top of the sixth inning, Monmouth responded with a walk and two-run home run to take a 3-1 lead. After an error and two singles, Rider was forced to go back to red-shirt freshman starter Krista Morrone (Pipersville, Pa./Palisades) in the circle.
Two sacrifice flies, two wild pitches and an error, allowed the Hawks to open up a 6-1 lead and the Hawks scored five times on six hits and another Rider error in the top of the seventh to take an 11-1 lead.
Sophomore Allysen Breeden (Hagerstown, Md./North Hagerstown) had a one out RBI single and freshman Dana Sensi (Allentown) followed with a sacrifice fly for the final score in the bottom of the seventh. Sensi was one for three on the day.
Morrone worked six innings in her two turns on the mound, scattering five hits and allowed two runs, none earned, while recording two strikeouts.
Freshman Ali Meagher (Clark/Arthur L. Johnson) faced four batters in the sixth, allowing four runs, two earned to pick up her second loss of the year.
"We were trying to mix it up a little bit and give Monmouth a different look," said Carroll about the pitching change. "She wasn't settled and it got away from us after that. We needed the veterans to settle us down after it became 3-1 and if that happens, who knows because we scored twice in the last inning. We needed to keep the game manageable after they took the lead and that didn't happen."
Monmouth out-hit Rider 13-5.
"You make a mistake against Monmouth's lineup and they don't miss it," Carroll added.
Cerissa Rivera went the distance for the Hawks, recording three strikeouts while allowing three runs, none earned.
The Hawks swept Rider in 2011 in West Long Branch, 4-3 and 3-0. In 2010, the Broncs split a doubleheader, winning the opener 2-1 in West Long Branch, the first Rider win over the Hawks since 2005. Former Northeast Conference rivals, Monmouth and Rider have now met 46 times on the softball diamond with the Broncs winning 27. Monmouth swept two games in Lawrenceville in 2009.
The Hawks will once again be conference rivals for Rider with Monmouth joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the 2013-14 season.
Rider heads to Florida March 15-20 for the Rebel Spring games, facing North Dakota, Wagner, Utah Valley and Fairleigh Dickinson with two games each against Columbia, Albany and UW-Green Bay.
After a doubleheader at Army on March 24, the Broncs return home on March 26 for a 2:30pm doubleheader against Hartford.