FAIRFIELD, CONN. - Siena softball avoided elimination by winning the program's first ever MAAC Tournament game by defeating No. 2 Fairfield 4-0. Siena will play tomorrow at approximately 2:00 p.m. against the winner No. 5 Monmouth vs. No. 6 Manhattan (Friday - 9AM).
"J.J. made a statement today, she didn't want to make this game her last," said Coach Bill Lajeunesse. "Our goal was to get the ball on the ground and make things happen offensively."
Senior pitcher Jessika-Jo Sandrini came out throwing with a purpose, as she did not want to end her senior year early. Sandrini tossed her 21st complete game on the season with a three hit shutout with seven strikeouts. Sandrini retired 13 straight batters with the final out in the first through the fifth inning. Sandrini also led the team offensively going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Siena scored two runs in the fifth and again in the sixth to sent the No. 2 Fairfield Stags home in the double elimination MAAC Tournament. Siena took advantage of three Fairfield errors in the fifth to take the 2-0 lead. Lauren Milligan scored on a throwing error and Mikayla Powlowsky scored on a Stephanie Viggiano RBI groundout.
Abby Carpenter followed Sandrini with two hits of her own. Carpenter sent a single through shortstop in the fourth and another single in the sixth to start the Saints two-run rally. Mackenzie Cronin scored on a Milligan sac fly to left field and Melanie Kalesse earned the final RBI with a single to short, giving the Saints the 4-0 lead heading into the seventh inning.
Sandrini continued her dominance, earning the quick 1-2-3 inning to secure the Saints' first ever MAAC Championship win. The win gives Sandrini her first 20-win season (20-11) and builds on the program record with 29 team wins.
Siena will now play the winner of the early game Friday morning between No. 5 Monmouth and No. 6 Manhattan (9 a.m.). First pitch for the Saints is scheduled to begin approximately around 2:00 p.m.