NEW HAVEN, Conn.— The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) softball team got back to their winning ways, sweeping a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) doubleheader with Albertus Magnus College (AMC) in dominant fashion, on the Shea Softball Complex Thursday.
The Blue Jays (19-15, 8-2 GNAC) snap their three game losing streak, while the Falcons (13-15, 2-6 GNAC) end a two-game win streak.
In game one, USJ got on the board early, scoring nine runs in the first three innings, and holding off AMC for good, winning 11-3 in five innings.
Junior pitcher Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) did it all for the Blue Jays (as she has done before), going 2-for-3 with a double, a single, two runs and three RBI. She also picked up the win on the mound (8-4), allowing three runs (0 ER) on three hits in five innings, striking out four. Senior center fielder Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) backed Sharon up with three RBI of her own, hitting 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. Senior right fielder Kristin Cunning (Hoboken, N.J.) led the way for the Falcons with two sacrifice fly's. Junior pitcher Laura Anderson took the loss (7-4), allowing 11 runs (8 ER) on nine hits in five innings.
After Sharon scored the first run on a wild pitch, Skoly followed it up with a bases clearing RBI single. USJ took a 4-0 lead. The Falcons answered right back with two runs of their own, but Sharon was not going to let this game get away. In the fourth, she hit a bases-clearing double to give USJ a 7-2 lead. It was all they needed, as the Blue Jays wrapped things up by the end of the fifth, grabbing an eight run lead to win under the mercy rule in game one.
In game two, the Blue Jay pitching was on point once again, and by the fifth and sixth inning, they took care of things offensively, winning 9-1 in six innings.
Freshman pitcher Natalie Amato (Cheshire, Conn.) had as good a game as you could ask for; Six innings of work, allowing just one run (1 ER) on two hits. She had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning, but allowed the one run and two hits, only to quickly retire the side. She struck out three and walked one overall, which was more than enough for the win (8-3). Amato held the Falcons scoreless until the Blue Jays kicked it into high gear at the plate, scoring seven runs in the fifth and sixth to take a commanding 9-0 lead. Sophomore first baseman Amanda Thiel (Torrington, Conn.) hit 2-for-3 with a game-high four RBI. Freshman left fielder Samantha Iannone (Wallingford, Conn.) hit 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBI. Freshman shortstop Jess Stettinger (East Haven, Conn.) had the sole RBI for the Falcons, driving in a run with a double. Freshman pitcher Erin Dighello (Wallingford, Conn.) took the loss (4-8), allowing five runs (2 ER) on five hits in four and a third.
Iannone was the sole spark in the Blue Jay offense early on, driving in two runs with two singles. A two run lead was all Amato needed to stay engaged; four of her six innings of work were one-two-three innings. In the fifth, USJ put their stamp on this one, scoring four runs on two hits and two errors. A three run single off an error from Thiel, along with a fielder's choice for Sharon, scored the runs.
Amato did not let the end of the no-hit bid get her down, as she got two more quick outs to end it in six innings under the mercy rule, pitching without a doubt the best game of her young career.
USJ will look to remain in first in the GNAC South with another conference doubleheader on Friday, April 19, at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. against Rivier (NH). Albertus Magnus is headed for a doubleheader matchup on Saturday, April 20 at 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. at Suffolk (MA).