Softball Tops Kean in NJAC Twinbill
McCrea struck out 10 in the opener as the Red Hawks won the opener 3-0 before completing the sweep with a 5-2 triumph in Game Two. With the two wins, Montclair improved to 32-2 on the season while remaining unbeaten in the NJAC at 14-0.
Senior Johanna Hedler ( South Plainfield, NJ / South Plainfield) drove in a pair of runs for Kean, which had its six-game winning streak snapped. The Cougars are now 24-8 on the year, 9-5 in the conference.
McCrea improved to 17-2 on the season as she walked two in picking up her eighth shutout of the season. Freshman Courtney Smyth ( Abington, PA / Abington) took the loss as she allowed three runs and nine hits with two walks in falling to 12-3.
The Red Hawks got on the board in the bottom of the first as Jackie Ferranti ( Bergenfield, NJ / Bergenfield) led off with a single and moved to second on a fielder’s choice. Jennifer Jimenez ( Linden, NJ / Linden) was hit by a pitch to load the bases and after two outs, Kelly Karp ( Edison, NJ / Edison) drew a walk to force home the game’s first run. Whitney Driver ( Montville, NJ / Morristown-Beard) extended the lead in the third with RBI single and Leslie Gonzalez ( North Bergen, NJ / North Bergen) followed with a run-scoring base hit for a 3-0 lead.
That would be all McCrea needed as she faced four batters over the minimum while recording her sixth double-digit strikeout game of the year. Ferranti finished 2-for-4 while Maureen Shockley (Magnolia, NJ / Triton) went 3-for-4 as the Red Hawks collected nine hits in the game.
Game Two saw the Red Hawks again jump out early as they plated three runs in the first inning. Karp singled home the first run and Kelly Nance (Marlboro, NJ / Marlboro) walked with the bases loaded to force home the second before Driver’s single made it 3-0. Megan Durkin’s ( West Orange, NJ / West Orange) RBI single increased the lead to four runs in the second, but Kean answered with two in the bottom of the fourth as Hedler singled with runners on second and third cutting the deficit to 4-2. Montclair countered with a run in the fifth on a ground out by freshman catcher Kacie Neurouter ( Wayne, NJ / Wayne Valley).
The trio of Karp, Elia Persico ( Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) and McCrea would combine on the victory. Karp earned the win as she moved to 13-0. The lefty went the first four innings allowing four hits and two runs with three walks. Persico tossed scoreless frames in the fifth and sixth innings before McCrea earned her fifth save of the year. Kristen Hennings ( Jackson, NJ / Jackson) suffered the loss as she fell to 4-4.
Shockley, Jimenez and Karp each had two hits for MSU while Hedler was 2-for-3 for Kean.
Both teams are in action on Sunday, April 20 with non-conference contests. Montclair State hosts Manhattanville College at the MSU Softball Stadium at 1:00 pm while Kean goes on the road at St. Joseph’s College in Long Island at the same time.