|Rae Ball has been crushing the ball lately; she's not a bad pitcher either!|
Rider 4 (6)
Rider 1 (5)
The Fairfield Stags ended their conference season with a 12-4 record after routing the Rider Broncs twice Saturday in Lawrenceville, NJ.
13 runs. Twice. Number 13 creaming pitches over the fence. Twice. Number 13 tops in MAAC pitching. Number 13 for Fairdfield is of course Rae Ball, and she had another great day. Rae smashed two long home runs and drove home seven runs in the sweep. After a slow start offensively, she has returned as the Stags' primary power threat. Although still hitting only .218, Rae suddenly has accumulated five homers and 33 RBIs; and just in time for the tournament. Of course, Rae has been concentrating on her pitching this season; and it's in this role that she leads the conference with a super stingy 1.67 ERA. Now Rider scored four runs in game one, but only one of them came off of Rae, and that an unearned one. For some reason she was relieved briefly, before returning to finish her win. That won't happen in Poughkeepsie.
These game weren't even close. Rider finished what was probably their most difficult season ever; what with senior defections and two injured pitchers. If the season was a week longer, they'd probably have no healthy pitchers. Ali Meagher has been an admirable workhorse, but you can only ask so much from a freshman. The Broncs have a very promising pitcher coming in next season, so hopefully they will have a full and healthy staff for 2014. Game one saw the Stags' Sammy Ruffolo have a fabulous game, as she hit 4 for 5 with three RBIs, three runs and a stolen base. Lauren Liseth was 2 for 2 with a triple and two RBIs; Rae Ball hit a home run and drove home four runs.
Game two was more of the same. Everyone played for Fairfield in this one, and most of them got hits. Rae Ball hit another home run, and drove home three runs. Lauren Liseth put up another 2 for 2 game; she's back over .400 for the season. Bri Levick was 2 for 2 with three RBIs. Becca Trott cruised to victory.
The Stags look very ready to make a run at their first MAAC title in 22 years. They will be the number one seed only if Marist and Siena split their doubleheader tomorrow, but they've been that before. They just want to win three straight games next week.