Orchard Notches 600th Victory

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Orchard Notches 600th Victory

The softball team does their traditional home run celebration (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

The softball team does their traditional home run celebration (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

The softball team does their traditional home run celebration (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

The softball team does their traditional home run celebration (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics).

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By Brendan O’Connell

Madie Auginbaugh was named A-10 Pitcher of the Week. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

This past weekend, Fordham Softball head coach Bridget Orchard earned her 600th win as head of the program, extending her own record, as her team won three of the four games they hosted over the Fordham Tournament.

It was the team’s first set of games playing at Rose Hill after a number of tournaments across the country to start the season. Despite the lousy weather, being back at Bahoshy Field was a welcome change for the Rams.

“The preseason tournaments are exciting and fun to play in, but it was really nice to play at home this weekend,” said graduate student and team co-captain Lauren Quense. “It was freezing, but definitely refreshing to be back on our own field. Traveling all over the country every weekend can get exhausting. I think I can speak for my whole team when I say we appreciated being able to sleep in our own beds this weekend.”

The comforts of home and some good nights’ rest paid off for the Rams.

On Friday afternoon, Madie Aughinbaugh picked up her first pitching win of the year and drove in the go-ahead run to help herself in a 5-2 victory over University of Massachusetts Lowell, getting support from powerful senior Madi Shaw as well, who plated three RBIs of her own.

The team split their two Saturday matchups, falling to Holy Cross in eight innings, 7-6, before defeating Seton Hall, 9-2, behind another solid pitching performance from Aughinbaugh and homers from Shaw and Skylar Johnston.

On Sunday, the Rams’ offense erupted for 21 runs in a dominant shutout of Detroit Mercy, invoking the mercy rule in five innings.

“We have to keep our offense rolling into [this coming weekend] and throughout conference play,” Quense said. “We did a very good job of controlling [what we could] this weekend and that’s always huge.”

Orchard cited the team handling the cold temperatures and suspect umpiring as examples of staying within themselves.

With this approach in place, the runs came early and often for Fordham, as nine batters tallied 24 combined hits, including two each from Shaw, juniors Jordy Storm and Deanna Burbridge and freshman Paige Rauch, not to mention the 13 walks or hit batsmen the Rams drew.

“When you put up an 11-spot in the first inning, it takes a significant amount of pressure off of the defense and the pitcher, which is definitely helpful in the cold,” Quense acknowledged. “We always say ‘hitting is contagious’ and that was certainly the case on Sunday. We know we can hit and, in the preseason, we didn’t exactly show that. To finally break through and score an absurd amount of runs was awesome! We are going to rely heavily on our offensive strength this season so I was really happy to see our hard work pay off this weekend with the bats.”

The Rams will look to carry this momentum into the regular season. They are set to face Stony Brook on Thursday before visiting Ohio for a weekend series against conference foe Dayton.

“Now that we are entering conference play, we have to shift gears,” Quense concluded. “We are no longer playing top-20 teams in the country, but all of these games matter. As a team, we are expected keep our eyes on the prize and work hard towards our goal every day. Our goal is ultimately to earn a first round bye in the Atlantic-10 Tournament, win the tournament, and advance to the big dance. This team definitely has the talent and mindset to do that. It is important for our team to focus every inning, every out, every pitch. If we do that we should end up on top. I am excited to see what the rest of this season has in store for us. It has not been easy at all thus far and we have taken some punches, but I feel good things coming for our team.”