Softball Splits NJAC Opener with TCNJ
Montclair State won the first game 4-3 before TCNJ earned a split with a 3-0 victory in the nighcap. MSU, which had its 27-game NJAC regular-season winning streak snapped with the loss is now 11-5 on the year, 1-1 in the league while the Lions are 10-10 overall (1-1 NJAC). TCNJ was the last team to defeat the Red Hawks in conference play as the Lions posted a 6-0 win on April 14, 2007 at the MSU Softball Stadium.
TCNJ tied the game in the top of the seventh as the Lions used a two-out rally. Katelyn Congilose (Toms River, NJ / Monsignor Donovan) doubled and Ashley Minervini (Cliffside Park, NJ / Cliffside Park) was hit by a pitch. Pinch-hitter Amy Ulrich (Colonia, NJ / Colonia) was also hit by a pitch to load the bases for Kathy Sikora (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee), who singled to right field knotting the game at 3-3. Persico came on an induced a pop up for the final out.
In the bottom of the inning, Montclair needed just two batters to get the win. Jennifer Jimenez (Linden, NJ / Linden) smacked a double to center field to lead off the inning and that was followed by an RBI single from Rastocny, giving MSU the one-run win.
The hit made a winner out of junior righthander Elia Persico (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee), who got the final out of the seventh. Karp went the first 6.2 innings allowing five hits and three runs, striking out nine and walking one. Minervini suffered the loss to fall to 5-5.
The second game belonged to Fitzsimmons, who improved to 5-1 with the win. She struck out four and walked one as she scattered four singles and did not allow a runner to reach third base. Rastocny took the loss to fall to 5-3.
TCNJ would need the performance from Fitzsimmons as it was held to just two hits, but took advantage of several opportunities.
The Lions got what turned out to be the only run they would eventually need in the second inning on a wild play. Kelly Armstrong (Jackson, NJ / Jackson Memorial) led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice. The next hitter struck out, but a wild pitch allowed Armstrong to go to third. On the throw down to first base, Armstrong kept going and beat the throw home for a 1-0 TCNJ advantage.
Armstrong would score again on a wild pitch in the fourth and the final TCNJ came on an error as Ellen Seavers (Ridgewood, NJ / Ridgewood) scored from second base with two outs.
Leslie Gonzalez (North Bergen, NJ / North Bergen) had two hits for Montclair State.
Both teams return to action on Tuesday, March 31 with NJAC contests. Montclair State is in Mahwah to take on Ramapo College while TCNJ is at Lions Park host Kean University. Both doubleheaders begin at 3:00 pm.