Saturday, April 28, 2012

Kelsey Krisch Beats Siena To Give Broncs Sweep

Kelsey Krisch pitched her finest game on senior day

Rider 4
Siena 3 (9)

Rider 2
Siena 1

Game One Box
Game Two Box

The Rider Broncs swept a pair of intense MAAC games from the Siena Saints Saturday in Lawrenceville, NJ.

This was surely the best MAAC doubleheader of the season thus far, with two teams battling hard, and tournament implications abounding. The Broncs have sent notice to the rest of the MAAC that they are contenders this season. The Saints could have won either or both games, and must keep their focus for their big doubleheader Sunday at Iona.

Game one was a classic, going nine innings. Rider jumped in front in the first inning, 2-0, loading the bases quickly for Heather Muscara, who singled home a pair of runners. Rachael Matreale of course started for Rider, and held the MAAC's number one offense down until the Saints began a comeback in the fourth inning. In that frame, Shannon Jones halved the Rider lead with a solo home run over the right field fence. That homer had other implications, as when the MAAC's leading hitter stepped up to the plate in the sixth inning, she was issued a walk with two outs. The MAAC's number two hitter made Rider pay though. Jessika-Jo Sandrini smashed a home run over the left field fence, and suddenly Siena was up 3-2. The quick strike capability of the Saints can be shocking; but the Broncs maintained their poise. The Saints were one out away from winning this game. But in the bottom of the seventh inning, Kehli Washington and Ally Breeden both singled to reach base, and with two outs, Sam Pugh hit a clutch single which scored Kehli to tie the game at 3-3. Into extras they went. The bottom of the ninth inning decided the game, but Siena went down hard. A one out single by Kehli Washington brought up Alyssa Paul, who stroked a double to left field. Kehli was sent home, but a perfect relay from Mandy Ferro to Shannon Jones to Nastasha Powlowsky got her at the plate! Alyssa Paul did make it to third base on the throw however, and with two outs, freshman Ally Breeden stepped to the plate and calmly singled her home for the win. Ally was 3 for 5 in the game, and continued to make a case for Freshman Of The Year honors. Rachael Matreale earned the win, her 17th of the season; Jessika-Jo Sandrini took the loss, allowing only two earned runs.

Game two was hard pressed to top the drama, but it came close. Rider's Kelsey Krisch celebrated senior day by pitching her best game in a Broncs' uniform. Coach Carroll must have been extremely pleased with Kelsey's performance, to say the least. Not only did she get a complete game win from her, but she also got to sit Rachael Matreale down in a warmup jacket for all of game two, keeping her star pitcher fresher for Sunday's showdown at Fairfield. Kelsey was brilliant in limiting the Saints' offense; holding them to five hits while striking out six. Rider jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when another senior, Lucy Higgins, doubled home Heather Muscara. The Broncs went up 2-0 in the fourth inning when Heather Muscara doubled and again was sent home by Lucy Higgins. The Saints got good pitching from Amanda Filippazzo, and hung in the game. In the sixth inning, Shannon Jones led off with her second home run of the day to cut the Rider lead to 2-1. That home run gave Shannon the Siena single season record. But it wasn't enough, and Rider held on for the 2-1 win and the sweep.

It was a great day of softball in Lawrenceville; and these two teams may meet again. Rider improved to 7-3; Siena fell to 6-4.

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