April 18, 2012
Siena softball played two very different games Wednesday at Siena Field, but won both. The Saints swept Hartford by scores of 10-2 and 5-4 in Loudonville, N.Y., extending what is now a nine-game winning streak.
The Saints (16-21) came out strong in the opener, putting up six runs in the first inning. Jessika - Jo Sandrini opened the day with a solo homer, Nastasha Powlowsky drove in two with a triple off the top of the center field wall, Jen Duell plated Powlowsky with an infield single, and freshman Chelsea Stout belted her first collegiate four-bagger, a two-run shot to left field.
Siena tacked on a seventh run in the second on an RBI single by Shannon Jones, but Hartford trimmed the gap with two runs (one unearned) in the third. Powlowsky got one back in the fourth with a solo homer, though, and a two-run single by Jones in the fifth gave Siena an eight-run rule victory. In the circle, Sandrini was sharp, yielding just one hit in five innings while striking out four.
The second game was very quiet offensively early on. Siena starter Amanda Filippazzo and Hartford hurler Siera Sheehan matched zeroes into the bottom of the fifth, when the Saints came alive once again.
The rally started with two outs, when Lindsey McKeever legged out a bunt single. Sandrini was then hit by a pitch, and Samantha Ray drew a walk to bring Jones to the plate with the bases loaded. The MAAC Player of the Year candidate did not disappoint, belting a grand slam that gave the Green and Gold a 4-0 lead.
However, the visiting Hawks weren't done yet. Their rally came in their final turn at bat, when they loaded the bases with just one out. Filippazzo struck out a pinch-hitter, but made one of her few mistakes of the afternoon in the next at-bat, when Hartford's Kate Wacyk smashed a two-out grand slam that tied the game at 4.
Not to be denied, though, the Saints bit right back in their half of the inning. With one out and McKeever on first, Sandrini stepped to the plate and ripped a line drive into the gap, bringing the senior all the way around to score the game-winning run on a walk-off double.
The current nine-game win streak is one of the longest in program history, but one that will be tested on Friday in a pivotal MAAC doubleheader against visiting Niagara. Last season, the Saints swept the Purple Eagles on the road to give the team a chance at a MAAC Tournament berth, and another sweep would give Siena a 6-2 record in conference play.
The first pitch Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Siena Field.