Softball Impresses in Spring Break Action

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Sydney Canessa's efforts secured her A-10 player of the week honors. Courtesy of Andrea Garcia.

By Pat Costello 

Sydney Canessa's efforts secured her A-10 player of the week honors. Courtesy of Andrea Garcia.
Sydney Canessa’s efforts secured her A-10 player of the week honors. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

While the students were away, softball continued to play. The Rams played eight games over the break, winning five of them. The ladies started their spring break slate against the Hofstra Pride. The high-scoring contest came down to the final out, when sophomore infielder Madison Shaw stepped to the plate. Shaw’s walk off double was the exclamation point on a three-run rally in the final frame, and it allowed the Rams to collect the 12-11 win. The offense exploded for 15 hits, four of which came from Shaw. Five Rams accumulated multiple hits in the contest, including a team-high four RBI’s on two hits from junior outfielder Sydney Canessa. The continued success of Canessa earned her Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors, while freshman infielder Jessica Hughes earned her second straight Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week.

Two days later the Rams played a doubleheader, with the first game against Towson and the second against Mount St. Mary’s. After falling in a 3-1 hole during the second inning, the Rams scored 11 unanswered runs over the next four innings, ending the game in the sixth with a score of 12-3. A two-run homerun from junior infielder Lindsay Mayer in the third inning served as the go-ahead, and the Rams offense never looked back. Graduate pitcher Rachel Gillen came in to relieve junior pitcher Lauren Quesne in the second and threw four shutout innings, ultimately picking up the win.

The Rams then faced off against Mount St. Mary’s in the mid-afternoon cap. The Rams scored three runs in the first inning before giving up five over the course of the second and third. They responded with force, scoring 10 unanswered runs and ending the game in the fifth inning. There was no flash in their rally, but rather timely hitting, good base running and smart plate appearances. Quesne pitched four innings and gave up five runs, but still picked up the 13-5 win. The victory marked the eighth consecutive win for the Rams, a season high.

The Rams faced the Towson Tigers the following day, this time as the away team, while they had been the home team in their first meeting. The score was tied in the bottom of the seventh, and the Rams had their ace on the hill in Gillen. The game had been back and forth all day, with both teams trading innings of either three or four runs. Towson’s Kendyl Scott was the hero for the Tigers, hitting a walk off solo homerun on the first pitch of her at bat and handing the Rams and Gillen a streak busting loss. Hughes continued her impressive rookie season, going 4-5 with two RBI’s. The clutch hitting that the Rams displayed the previous day did not reemerge, as they left 11 runners on base in the 8-7 loss.

Later that day, the team had the opportunity to respond, which it did in an impressive manner. Quesne pitched one of her best games so far, throwing a two hit shutout over six innings while striking out four. The Rams scored eight runs in the game, including an RBI singled from Canessa in the first, which proved good enough to win the game. The victory marked the ninth in their last 10 games.

After the five game Tiger Classic, in which the Rams went 4-1, the ladies finally got their first crack at the A-10 against UMass. Gillen overpowered the Massachusetts batters, collecting nine strikeouts in another complete game win. Gillen helped her own cause in the fifth inning, crushing a two-run homerun to right-centerfield, which gave the Rams a 5-1 cushion. UMass battled back, scoring two more runs in the sixth and seventh, but could not overcome Gillen’s authority. The 5-3 win was the 700th for the program and its first in the A-10 this season.

UMass was not yet through with the Rams, as they bounced back on the following day to capture a 3-2 victory in the first game of a doubleheader. The contest started as a pitchers’ duel, with Quesne getting the nod for the Rams. Neither team surrendered a run in the first three innings. The Minutewomen pounced first, scoring two in the top of the fourth. The Rams responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but a third UMass run in the top of the fifth proved insurmountable.

In their final spring break game, Gillen was in complete control once again against UMass. The grad student threw nearly six innings of perfect softball before finally giving up the only UMass hit of the game. She threw all seven innings, collecting another win. Her complete game victory was the 43rd in her career, putting her in fourth place in Fordham history, as well as sixth place for complete games with 34. The Rams scored four runs on that day and collected their 11th win in their last 13 games. The ladies return to non-conference action against Iona on Wednesday, March 30.