Softball Caps Perfect NJAC Regular-Season

Little Falls, NJ (4/26/08) – The Montclair State softball team, ranked No. 6 in Division III, capped off its most successful New Jersey Athletic Conference regular-season as the Red Hawks swept No. 16 Rowan University in pair of one-run games at the MSU Softball Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Senior righthander Carolyn McCrea ( Wharton, NJ / Jefferson) picked up her 19 th win as the Red Hawks won the opener 2-1. In the second game, Montclair held off a late Rowan rally for a 6-5 triumph.

The victories helped MSU finish as perfect 18-0 in NJAC play as they joined Rutgers-Camden in 2006 as the most recent teams to accomplish the feat. Montclair, which has won four straight, improved to 37-3 overall, one win shy of the school record. The Red Hawks now enter the NJAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the second straight year and will face No. 6 seed William Paterson on Tuesday, April 29 at 4:00 pm in an opening-round contest. Following the three opening-round games, the entire tournament will shift to the MSU Softball Stadium for games May 2-4.

Pitcher/designated player Jackie Sasko (Hamilton, NJ / Steinert) drove in four runs for Rowan, which finished its league schedule at 13-5 while falling to 31-7 overall. The Profs will host No. 5 seed The College of New Jersey in Glassboro on Tuesday.

A battle of NJAC top two leaders in wins, McCrea bested Sasko as she picked up her 19 th victory of the year (19-2). McCrea allowed six hits, struck out five and walked two while Sakso (19-3) put together a solid effort going six innings allowing five hits and two runs with three walks and three strikeouts.

Montclair State scratched out a run in the second. Kacie Neurouter (Wayne, NJ / Wayne Valley) was hit by a pitch to open the inning and pinch-runner Ashley Lustenberger (River Edge, NJ / River Dell) stole second and third before scoring on Leslie Gonzalez’ (North Bergen, NJ / North Bergen) RBI single to right field. Rowan would tie the game in the top of the third on an RBI single by Heidi Smith (Hainesport, NJ / Rancocas Valley) , but Montclair answered right back in its half as Megan Durkin (West Orange, NJ / West Orange) singled home Jennifer Jimenez (Linden, NJ / Linden) for what turned out to be the go-ahead run.

Rowan would threaten in the fifth as Jenna DiDonato ( Hamilton, NJ / Steinert) led off with a double and moved to third on a fly out. But McCrea would escape the jam as she fanned the next hitter and finished off the inning with a ground out as MSU maintained its advantage.

Jimenez and Gonazlez each had two hits for Montclair State while DiDonato went 2-for-2.

In Game Two, Montclair jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second as Kelly Karp (Edison, NJ / Edison) singled with one out and scored on an RBI double by Kelly Nance (Marlboro, NJ / Marlboro) . Montclair would erupt for five runs in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead. Gonzalez provided the big hit with a two-run double while Jackie Ferranti ( Bergenfield, NJ / Bergenfield) and Durkin each drove in a run.

The Profs chipped away at the deficit with a run in the fourth and another in the fifth on Sasko’s infield single to make the score, 5-2. Rowan would load the bases in the seventh and Sasko cleared them with a one-out double to left field trimming the lead to a run. Sophomore Elia Persico ( Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) came on and got a ground out for the second out, but walked the next hitter putting the potential tying run on. But Persico induced a foul pop up to end the game.

Karp earned the victory as she improved to 15-0 on the year while Persico picked up her fourth save of the season. Brianna Seckinger ( Churchville, PA / Council Rock S.) took the loss to fall to 6-1.

Ferranti finished 3-for-4 for Montclair while Jimenez, Karp and Gonzalez all had two hits apiece for the Red Hawks. Sasko, Casey Roselle ( Sparta, NJ / Sparta) and Kristin Wallace ( Glassboro, NJ / Washington Township) each had two hits for Rowan.