The Rowan softball team split a pair of games with Ramapo College on Tuesday, April 25, where the Profs handled business 8-0 in game one and fell short 6-2 in the second game.
The No. 14 ranked team in Division III softball was backed by a big five-run third inning and another dominant pitching performance from Rylee Lutz in game one.
Lutz worked into trouble in the top of the first with the two leadoff hitters reaching safely, but she got out of trouble and contained the Roadrunners hitters from that point on.
Head Coach Kim Wilson reflects on what she saw from her sophomore pitcher.
“I think Ry [Rylee Lutz] did a great job, first inning started off with two baserunners and then just settled in and moved the ball and kept them off balance and we made a couple of nice defensive plays behind her and did a good job,” Coach Wilson said.
Back-to-back singles from McKenzie Melvin and Liz McCaffery allowed for the first two runners of the third inning to reach safely, and Cat Thomas moved both runners into scoring position after hitting a hard-line drive.
Korie Hague plated Melvin and then was brought in from a two RBI single off the bat of Abby Pawlowski to make it 3-0.
Following a Devyn DiPasquale single, Grace Shukaitis drove in Pawlowski. The top of the lineup rolled over and Payton MacNair grabbed a single up the middle to extend Rowan’s lead 5-0.
Coach Wilson discussed the importance of the five-run third inning.
“I think they were seeing her [Marissa DiPaolo] really well and they were driving the ball,” Wilson said. “I think overall in that game we just did a good job of hitting the pitches that we want to be hitting.”
Hague picked up her second hit and RBI of the day in the fourth inning after driving in McCaffery, who started off the inning with a walk. Breanna Bryant recorded a hit and RBI of her own after she brought home Sam Pawlowski, who pinch-ran for Cat Thomas as she reached safely on an error.
After going 2-3 with an RBI in game one, Bryant explained what she saw at the plate.
“In the first game we knew that the pitcher was going to be good, probably throw a little harder than what we normally see,” Bryant said. “So I was just trying to stay above the ball and hit it hard.”
With a chance to end game one via the run rule in five innings, MacNair led off the bottom of the fifth with a double backed up by a Melvin single. McCaffery eventually flew out to center field, but the sacrifice fly brought home a run and sealed the deal for Rowan.
As a collective, the team grabbed 13 hits and everyone deposited at least one. Pitching-wise, Lutz threw five scoreless innings of one-hit ball while striking out three to grab her 18th win of the season.
In game two, Ramapo jumped on the board early with a 1-0 lead. Rowan tied it up as Bryant singled to left center to bring home Hague, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
The teams remained tied for a few innings until a four-run fifth inning from the Roadrunners broke the game open.
Starter Emily McCutcheon worked into the most trouble she faced all season and couldn’t escape the top of the fifth after surrendering a single, double, fielder’s choice and a two-run home run. Marina Costello came in on relief and stopped the bleeding.
In the following inning Ramapo added an insurance run, the only earned run given up by Costello in relief to make the game 6-1.
In the bottom frame McCaffery tripled to start things off and was driven in on a single dropped down the left field line by Thomas to cut the lead to four 6-2. But consecutive flyouts ended the inning, and eventually the Profs’ winning streak.
Bryant discussed what the differences in the team’s results were at the plate between games one and two.
“Game one we were very disciplined and not hitting her [the pitcher’s] high stuff, in game two she [Kassy Stefanski] didn’t have a rise ball but she had a really high fastball and we were just swinging at it and popping up, which we probably shouldn’t have,” Bryant said.
Coach Wilson talked about what went wrong for the Profs in game two.
“I think their pitcher did a good job against us and we were chasing her pitch which we shouldn’t be doing and we continued to do it throughout the game and that’s something we haven’t done this season, we’ve been able to make adjustments but for some reason today we weren’t able to,” Coach Wilson said.
This loss snapped Rowan’s 15-game winning streak and their attempt to remain perfect in conference play throughout the regular season. With this loss, the Profs are now 32-4 overall and 15-1 in the conference and will wrap up the regular season with a pair of games against NJCU this Saturday, April 29, in Jersey City.
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