Softball drops three against Army

Andrew Arnao

Sports Editor

The softball team had a rough weekend on the road against Army, falling to its Patriot League rivals in three out of four games. The lone win was the final game of the April 21 doubleheader, in which Dana Nielsen ’16 and Cindy Cherness ’16 combined for a five-hit shutout to prevent a series sweep. The Bison also triumphed in a home game against Saint Francis (Pa.) on April 24.

Game one against Army on April 20 featured Amanda Fazio ’16 on the mound as she looked to improve her recent string of successful outings. Fazio ran into trouble in the first inning, where a pair of errors by the Bison allowed two runners to score for the Black Knights. Fazio was lights out from there, allowing only two hits through the remainder of her outing to give her a final box score of 5.1 innings pitched, two hits, no earned runs and three strikeouts. Cherness relieved Fazio in the sixth and caused the only batter she faced to pop up into a double play, keeping the deficit at two runs. However, the Bison offense was unable to come up with any runs in support of Fazio, with shortstop Cydnee Sanders ’15 recording the only hit for the Bison, and the Orange and the Blue dropped game one by a final of 2-0.

In game two, the Bison offense was paced by Cassie Greenhawk ’13, who hit a two-RBI triple in the third and also scored two runs. However, Nielsen allowed four runs in five innings to keep the score knotted at 4-4 going into the seventh inning, where the Black Knights walked off 5-4 after scoring a run off Cherness to hand the Bison their second loss of the day.

Game three on April 21 proved to be a pitching duel, as both teams remained scoreless until the 11th inning. Unfortunately for the Bison, Army once again pulled through with the clutch hit, an RBI triple by the Black Knights allowing an unearned run to score against Cherness. The 1-0 loss did not affect another wonderful performance by Fazio, who allowed only seven hits in 7.2 innings and struck out seven. However, the Bison could only manage two hits against the Army starter Morgan Lashley, who pitched all 11 innings in the loss.

All of the cylinders finally started firing for the Bison in game four, when Nielsen and Cherness combined for their dominating 4-0 shutout. Nielsen allowed five hits over 6.1 innings, struck out three and did not walk a batter. Similar to game one, Cherness came in with a runner on base and caused the batter to hit into a double play, this time ending the game in favor of the Bison. Third baseman Colie Escobar ’15 went 3-3 at the plate, hitting her team-leading fourth home run of the year, while right fielder Kristen Zahn ’15 also added three hits and two RBI. Greenhawk scored two of the Bison’s four runs.

Nielsen also pitched well in the game against Saint Francis (Pa.), going four innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and striking out three. Bridget Gates ’13 relieved Nielsen and threw three shutout innings, allowing just one hit and recording one strikeout. On offense, Zahn drove the Bison to victory with a 3-3 performance, including an RBI single in the first to score Greenhawk and a solo home run in the third to put the Bison ahead for good in a 3-2 victory.

The Bison now enter a crucial weekend as they travel to face Patriot League rival Holy Cross for their final series of the regular season. The Bison play four games against Holy Cross, and must win two of them in order to stay in contention for the Patriot League Tournament. The Orange and the Blue will look to ride their strong pitching to victory, starting with the first pitch Saturday at noon.

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