University of Hartford 10, Rider University 0 / 5 innings
Rider University 12, University of Hartford 4 / 6 innings
LAWRENCEVILLE--Freshman Emily Cottrell (Beachwood/Toms River HS South) hit her first two collegiate home runs and had five RBI as the Rider University softball team salvaged a split against Hartford on Tuesday afternoon at Herb and Joan Young Field.
"The Jekyll and Hyde, that's the frustrating part about the season," said head coach Tricia Carroll. "How we can play so well in game two after playing so bad in game one probably can't be described. I don't have an answer for that and it's been that way for a lot of games."
Cottrell was three for three in the second game, including a grand slam with two runs scored.
"This was a confidence boost," said Cottrell who entered the day hitting .077. "Things just clicked and I ran with it. It was a great day."
"We talk about making adjustments and assistant coach Christie Novatin made a flow chart to go back to hitting 101," Carroll said. "We simplified things for Emily and some of the other players and we are starting to see that result. We put the ball in play and that's what we need to continue to do."
In the nightcap, Rider (4-24) opened the scoring with a five-run first inning, keyed by the Cottrell grand slam.
"We just wanted to get a win," Cottrell said about the mindset of the team after the opening game. "We hadn't won in a while. The first game, that wasn't our team and in the second game, that's our team, we realized we could do damage and that's what we did."
"To split against a very good team, we'll take it," said Carroll. "We just need to compete better for both games."
Sophomore Amanda Irving (Westminster, Md./Westminster) and sophomore Gina McCool (Marlton/Cherokee) each had an RBI single in the second inning as the Broncs extended the lead to 7-1. Irving was four for four in the second game and had five hits in the doubleheader.
McCool hit an RBI single in the fourth inning as Rider extended the lead to 8-1 over the Hawks. McCool had three hits and two RBI in the second game.
Hartford (8-15) cut the Bronc lead to 8-4 with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth inning before the Broncs ended the game on the mercy rule with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cottrell led off the sixth with a home run and RBI hits from junior Kehli Washington (Lulea, Sweden/New Rochelle) and Irving (double), combined with a Hawk error allowed the Broncs to win 12-4.
Red-shirt freshman Krista Morrone (Pipersville, Pa./Palisades) threw all six innings, recording two strikeouts to pick up her fourth win of the season.
In the opener, Hartford was held to six hits but took advantage of four Bronc errors to win 10-0 in five innings.
"If we compete and come up short, I have no issues," Carroll added. "We did that in the second game and didn't do that in the opener. We need to figure out how to bring that effort to all the games. At some point, we need to say this is not acceptable and fix it."
The Hawks scored four times in the first inning (three unearned) and Hartford added three runs in the third inning (all unearned) and three in the fourth inning (two unearned) for the final score.
Washington, Irving and freshman Kim Valdes (Jupiter, Fla./King's Academy) each had hits for Rider. Washington and Valdes each had three hits in the doubleheader.
Freshman Ali Meagher (Clark/Arthur L. Johnson) took the loss, allowing 10 runs, two earned.
Rider travels to Saint Peter's University on Saturday for a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference doubleheader at noon.
"We are feeling pretty good about the start of MAAC play," Cottrell added. "If we play with confidence, I think we can do well."
"If everyone brings their best, we'll be our best," Carroll said. "Conference play is a completely different animal and if we can't figure out how to get up for that, we'll have issues."