Softball pitchers dominate

Thomas Walter

Senior Writer

Dana Nielsen ’16 was named Patriot League Pitcher of the Week and Amanda Fazio ’16 earned Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors as the women’s softball team swept Lafayette last weekend, recording three shutouts in four games and reaching .500 in Patriot League play to move into fourth place in the Patriot League standings. After splitting a doubleheader against Saint Francis (Pa.), the Bison are now 14-25 overall and 6-6 against Patriot League rivals.

Fazio and Nielsen got things started on April 13 with two dominating performances that resulted in one-hit shutouts for both pitchers. In game one’s 4-0 victory, Fazio took a perfect game into the seventh inning and faced the minimum, when the only runner to record a hit was thrown out at second base by Mariah Midyette ’16. Fazio recorded nine strikeouts, gave up no walks and has now thrown a shutout in three of her last five appearances. Fazio was backed offensively by Kristen Zahn ’15, who recorded three RBIs thanks to a two-run homer and a sacrifice fly, and Erin Cox ’15, who singled and scored on an error.

Nielsen followed up Fazio in game two’s 2-0 triumph with a dazzling effort of her own, allowing only a third-inning single and striking out 12 en route to her own complete game shutout. The offense supported Nielsen with a pair of RBI singles from Cydnee Sanders ’15 and Cheyanna Young ’16, scoring Cassie Greenhawk ’13 and Midyette, respectively.

“We feel like we are finally putting all the pieces together and getting the sweep helped us feel like all our hard work we’ve put in all year is finally paying off,” Nielsen said. “We just have to keep this momentum and I think we will continue being successful.”

On April 14, Fazio returned in game three with another gem, throwing 5.1 shutout innings and combining with Cindy Cherness ’16 for another 4-0 shutout. Three different Bison contributed RBIs to the effort, while Zahn led the team with two hits. The Bison completed the sweep with an 8-3 win in the night game, with Nielsen recording her second win of the series after allowing only one earned run and striking out seven in 5.0 innings. Cox and Midyette homered in the final game to help pace the Bison offensive onslaught.

“I think we have focused a lot this season on just taking the season one game, or even down to one inning and one out at a time,” Fazio said. “It is exciting thinking about playing in the tournament, but we have to put the work in now and focus on one inning at a time in order to have a shot at the tournament.”

The Bison finished up their slate for the week with two games against Saint Francis (Pa.) on April 17. The Orange and the Blue triumphed in the first game after coming back to win 4-3, but could not mount the same comeback as Saint Francis (Pa.) held on for a 5-4 victory in the nightcap.

Saturday was also Senior Day for the Bison, with Greenhawk, Mary Horton ’13, Bridget Gates ’13, Alex MacLean ’13 and Laura Sandford ’13 all being honored.

The Orange and the Blue will look to continue their strong play as they travel to face Army in another Patriot League series this weekend.

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