The Rowan softball team competed in their home opener on Wednesday, March 30, where they took on Haverford College in a doubleheader.
The no. 19 ranked softball team according to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), took a pair of games from the Fords, winning 4-1 and 8-2 respectively.
The Profs got the scoring started in the first inning with runners on the corners, when senior Morgan Zane took off for second base, an error on the throw to second allowed for freshman Mackenzie Melvin to come across the plate to score.
Haverford would come back to tie the game with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.
From then on out, senior ace Emily August shut the Fords offense down, and held them without a hit after the fourth inning. In pitching a complete game August gave up four hits, one run and struck out five earning her seventh win of the year.
Rowan then broke open the game when sophomore Payton MacNair stepped up to the plate. With Melvin and sophomore Grace Shukaitis on the bases, MacNair delivered with a three-run shot to give the Profs the 4-1 lead, which would hold the scoring at the end of the contest.
MacNair details her approach during her at-bat.
“Just stay patient,” MacNair said. “Wait back on the ball and I got the result I wanted.”
In the victory of the first contest, the Profs grabbed four hits, with Melvin collecting two runs scored while stealing two bags.
In the second game, freshman Rylee Lutz got the start in the circle. She held the Fords scoreless for six innings and got run support from her offense.
MacNair would spark the offense once again when in the third inning she doubled to give the Profs the 1-0 edge.
Head Coach Kim Wilson reflects on MacNair’s performance throughout the doubleheader.
“I thought she did a great job,” Coach Wilson. “Payton’s consistent for us, she’s our on-the-field leader and we expect those kinds of things from her.”
MacNair herself cites her patience for her success at the plate.
“I told myself going into this game ‘I need to be more patient’ and it worked out,” MacNair said.
With the 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, sophomore Cat Thomas stepped up to the plate and delivered for the brown and gold. Her two-run homer gave the Profs the 3-0 lead.
Head Coach Wilson admired the offensive performance of Rowan throughout the matchup.
“I thought they did a great job,” Coach Wilson said. “Waiting for their pitch, being able to see something they could drive, I thought we hit the ball well.”
After the Fords were able to get within two after the top of the sixth inning, the Profs went to work at the plate and broke open the game.
MacNair drove in sophomore pinch-runner Sarah Brosman to make it a 4-1 game, followed by a two-RBI single off the bat of Zane to extend the lead 6-1. The Profs continued to roll when Thomas doubled to left field, and freshman Liz McCaffery scored, tailing two more runs in the contest.
“I thought our energy was really good, and I thought we did a good job,” Coach Wilson said. “She was a good pitcher in the first game and definitely a little bit slower in the second game, so I think we made good adjustments to stay with them.”
Although Lutz gave up a solo home run in the top of the seventh, she closed out the game on a high note with a strikeout to end the contest. Lutz moved to 7-1 on the season, surrendered three hits, two runs and struck out four.
The shortstop for the Profs reflects on the pitching performances of August and Lutz in both games.
“Great, they’re just amazing,” MacNair said. “They always get the job done and we just have to be back behind them and do our defense.”
The Profs would win 8-2, backed by a five-run sixth inning. Thomas finished the second game 2-4, while Zane added two RBIs, along with MacNair who chipped in with two more RBIs, finishing 2-4 as well.
With the pair of victories, the Profs move to 15-5 on the season, and will now open up New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play with a doubleheader in Glassboro on Saturday against William Paterson at 1 and 3 p.m.
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.