WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team pounded out 28 hits, 11 for extra bases, as they swept a non-conference doubleheader over the Mitchell College Mariners at home on the USJ Softball Field Thursday afternoon. The Blue Jays took game one 8-1 before completing the sweep with a 9-1, six-inning victory in the tail end of the twin bill. With the victories USJ improves to 13-7 overall on the season, while Mitchell slips to 7-14.
GAME 1 - USJ 8, Mitchell 1
The Blue Jays wasted little time in game one jumping on the Mariners with six runs in the bottom of the first inning. Freshman McKenna Driscoll (Bristol, Conn.) laced a two-RBI triple to right center field to bring home the first two runs of the game before sophomore Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) brought home Driscoll with a single to make it 3-0. Sophomore Bianca Pappacoda (East Haven, Conn.) completed the six-run first inning with a two-RBI double.
USJ kept its foot on the pedal and made it 7-0 with a run in the second inning. Freshman Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) doubled to leadoff the inning and then scored on a double off the bat of freshman Brianna Barfield (North Attleboro, Mass.).
After Mitchell plated a run in the top of the third to trim St. Joseph's lead to 7-1, the Blue Jays punched right back and answered with a run of its own to make it 8-1. USJ did all of the damage in the inning with two outs as freshman Taylor Marino (Middlefield, Conn.) got things started with a double to right field and then scored on a RBI single to right field by Sharon one batter later.
Freshman starting pitcher Nathalia Vega (Waterbury, Conn.) faced just three Mitchell batters over the minimum over the remainder of the game to secure the 8-1 victory. Vega picked up the win tossing her second career complete game to move to 2-3 on the season. She allowed just one run on four hits and three walks, while striking out a pair.
Four Blue Jays posted multi-hit games led by Driscoll who finished 3-for-4 with a triple, two RBI and a run scored. Pappacoda went 2-for-3 at the dish with a double and a pair of RBI.
GAME 2 - USJ 9, Mitchell 1 (6 inn.)
The Blue Jays exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to complete the sweep with a 9-1, six-inning victory in the second game of the afternoon. Sophomore Michelle Van Asperen (Duiven, Netherlands) had the game-ending hit, her first as a Blue Jay.
USJ was the first to score in game two when they posted a run in the bottom of the first inning. Sharon ripped a single to right center which scored sophomore Isabella Russo (Southington, Conn.) all the way from first base.
Mitchell would pull even, 1-1, when they responded with a run of their own in the top half of the next inning. Danielle Autieri (North Salem, N.Y) doubled over the head of the left fielder to plate Italia Krick (Griswald, Conn.) and tie the game.
USJ would take the lead for good when they pushed across a run in the bottom of the third inning. Russo belted what would be her first of two triples in the game to leadoff the inning and then came in to score on a single from junior Sarah Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) one batter later.
Sharon would settle in after allowing the run in the second inning and face just four batters over the minimum for the remainder of the game. That would setup an offensive explosion by St. Joseph in the bottom of the sixth inning as they pushed across seven runs in the frame to shorten the game to six innings.
The Blue Jays posted four extra-base knocks in the inning. Back-to-back doubles by Pappacoda and Marino got things started before Russo followed with her second triple to build a 4-1 advantage. A two-RBI single by Sharon two batters later made it 6-1 before sophomore Rachel Due (Southington, Conn.) pushed home the seventh run for the Blue Jays on a RBI fielder's choice.
Freshman Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) ripped the fourth extra-base hit of the inning, a double to right field, to drive in a run and then Van Asperen ended the game with a pinch-hit, RBI single up the middle for the 9-1 final.
Sharon earned her 11th win of the season in the circle in the victory and now carries an 11-4 overall record on the season for USJ. She spun a complete game allowing just one earned run on six hits and a walk, while striking out a season-high nine batters.
Four Blue Jays recorded multi-hit games in game two highlighted by a 3-for-4 showing from Russo and a 3-for-3 effort from Driscoll. Sharon finished 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI. Six different Blue Jays posted at least an RBI in the game two win for St. Joseph.
The USJ softball team will be back in action next when they return to Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) play with a doubleheader at Norwich on Saturday. First pitch of game one is slated for 12 noon.