|Emily Osterhaus was tireless Sunday|
Fairfield 2 (10)
The Marist Red Foxes swept the Fairfield Stags in what may have been a prelude to the MAAC tournament Sunday in Poughkeepsie, NY
Already we've seen some great conference games this season, but game one in this series may have been the best to date. The Red Foxes and Stags went toe-to-toe for 10 innings in a game that featured great pitching. Marist took the lead in the bottom of the first inning when an Alyssa Zahka grounder scored Dani Koltz who had singled and was moved to third base by Nicole Cheek's base hit. The Stags got that run back in the top of the third inning when Sam Frungillo drove home Nikki Osofsky. However, on the same play center fielder Maureen Duddy threw out Lauren Liseth at the plate when she attempted to score from second base. That ended the inning, and would become a key defensive play. When Dani Koltz led off the Marist sixth inning with a home run, it appeared to seal the win for the Red Foxes. But that would not be the case. With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, and with Tiffany Lawson on third base, the MAAC's leading hitter, Lauren Liseth, stepped up to the plate. Everyone has been walking Lauren as you know, but Emily Osterhaus went at her, having struck her out twice in the game. As it turned out, an error by freshman shortstop Kyrsten Van Natta allowed the tying run to get home. Kyrsten would make up for it. For the next three innings, Emily Osterhaus and Fairfield's Rae Ball shut the door as far as offense was concerned. Marist did have an excellent chance in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases, but Kyrsten Van Natta fouled out to end the inning. It was in the bottom of the tenth when the game was decided in Marist's favor. Base hits by Maureen Duddy and Nicole Cheek put the winning run on second base. With two outs, Kyrsten Van Natta stroked a single to center that scored Maureen with the winner; the Marist freshmen connection won the game. Nicole Cheek and Dani Koltz each had three hits for Marist. Kristen Filicia had three hits for Fairfield. Emily Osterhaus got the complete game win, allowing no earned runs. Rae Ball took the loss, but pitched well enough to win.
In game two, it was Fairfield who jumped in front early, scoring a run in the top of the first inning. Sam Frungillo got her second RBI of the day when she sent Kristen Filicia home. Marist would however get two runs in the bottom of the same inning, and never look back. It was Alyssa Zahka, riding a hot streak, who smashed a two run home run that put Marist in front to stay. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Aly Klemmer led off with her first homer of the season to increase the Marist lead to 3-1. The game did end with a dramatic moment. In the top of the seventh inning, Lauren Liseth came to the plate with a runner on base and two outs. Emily Osterhaus was in her 17th inning of the day, but the call went for her to pitch to the All-MAAC hitter. Lauren pushed her to a full count, fouling off four pitches, before popping up to Kyrsten Van Natta to end the game and give Marist the MAAC sweep. Emily Osterhaus got another win, completing an outstanding day of work. Aly Klemmer was 3 for 3 for Marist, as was Nicole Capra for Fairfield. Lauren Falkanger took the loss.
Marist begins MAAC play at 2-0; Fairfield drops to 3-3. These two teams may very well meet next month on the same field.