Monday, April 2, 2012

Gaels Sweep Stags in Championship Rematch

Great all around day by Alyssa Maiese

Iona 3
Fairfield 1

Iona 4
Fairfield 3

The Iona Gaels began defense of their MAAC title with a sweep of the Fairfield Stags Sunday in Fairfield, CT.

As luck would have it, MAAC play officially began this season with a rematch of last year's championship game. Maybe it wasn't so "lucky" for Fairfield, who struggled throughout most of the conference doubleheader. Iona struck early in both games, then rode their great pitching, never trailing in the twin bill. Deanne Algeo got things started for the Gaels in game one by smashing a double to center field in the first inning. Following a Chelsea Sheehan single, Alyssa Maiese drove home her first of four RBIs on the day, singling to score Deanne; Chelsea made it home on an error. From there on, Sarah Jackson did her usual thing, shutting down the Stags attack inning after inning, with some help form right fielder Eileen McCann who gunned down a runner at the plate in the third inning. A sixth inning RBI single by Jodi Petersen wrapped up a 3-1 win for Iona. Kristen Filicia scored the Stags only run on a couple of fielder's choices after walking in the sixth inning.

Game two was the Alyssa Maiese show. I wrote Saturday that Iona was going to throw two Aces against their MAAC rivals all season. The redshirt senior was nearly perfect through six innings of the second game. Alyssa allowed just a little walk in that time; she was simply mowing down the Stags, who could not generate any offense until the seventh inning and seemed destined for the embarrassment of being no hit at home in a conference game. In the meantime, it was Alyssa Maiese who was her own best friend when she smashed a Rae Ball pitch over the left field fence in the top of the first inning, which also scored Chelsea Sheehan to give Iona another quick 2-0 lead. For the next five innings, Alyssa just did not give Fairfield any hope. Iona added what seemed like two mere insurance runs in the sixth inning, but it was a policy that paid off. Again Alyssa Maiese unleashed her bat, driving a long double to center which scored Chelsea Sheehan. Brianna Schauer then singled Alyssa home for a 4-0 Iona lead. Finally, Fairfield woke up in the home half of the seventh inning, and nearly came all the way back, helped by a couple of Iona errors. After Mikayla Shumate reached on shortstop Brianna Schauer's error, the Stags got their first hit of the game when Lauren Liseth roped a double down the left field line to put runners at second and third. Ali Wigand then hit a long fly ball to right field, which was misplayed by Eilenn McCann scoring both runners to cut the Gaels lead in half. A two out single by Kimi Kurata then scored pinch runner Rachel Beaudoin to make the score 4-3, but that was as close as Fairfield would get. Alyssa Maiese struck out eight Stags, and was 3 for 3 in the game.

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