By Brian Savard
SALEM, VA – First-year head coach Brittany Robinson chalked up her first career win at the controls of the State University of New York at New Paltz softball program, as the Hawks beat Centenary (N.J.) College, 6-2, on Sunday at the Beach Blast in the Mountains Classic hosted by Roanoke College at the James Moyer Complex. The Hawks lost, 10-6, to Kean University in the nightcap.
New Paltz moves to 1-3 overall and is slated to host Farleigh Dickinson University-College at Florham in a home-opening doubleheader at Mary Gray Deane Field on Saturday, March 8, at 1 p.m. Centenary (N.J.) drops to 0-3 overall and next visits Rutgers University-Camden on Thursday, March 13, at 3 p.m. for a non-conference doubleheader. Kean rises to 4-0 overall and next competes at the Rebel Spring Games in Winter Haven, Fla., from Monday-Thursday, March 10-13.
New Paltz 6, Centenary (N.J.) 2
The Hawks put one in the win column in their first game of the day, scattering 11 hits against the Cyclones.
New Paltz scored early, as junior third baseman Meg Brewer pushed across junior catcher Shayna Burgess with a single to center field in the first inning. Burgess got involved in scoring again in the second, plating sophomore right fielder Nicole DeCosta with a triple to left field, and sophomore shortstop Jordan Fiore followed that up during the next at-bat with an RBI single to the shortstop that brought in Burgess.
Centenary (N.J.) made it a one-run game in the third, as two runs came across on a single by freshman first baseman Courtney Siero.
In the fifth, junior left fielder Noelle Grande drove in senior first baseman Chelsea Kull with a single to the shortstop, and in the sixth, Burgess and Kull each homered to round out the game’s scoring.
Sophomore pitcher Katie Rutcofsky went the distance in the circle for the Hawks, yielding two runs off nine hits, two hit by pitches and a walk while striking out five. Her starting counterpart, freshman pitcher Kylie Morgan-Polefka, allowed four runs (three earned) off eight hits with two strikeouts in the losing effort.
Burgess paced the New Paltz offense with a 3-for-4 performance that included three runs scored, two RBI, a triple and a home run, falling just a double short of the cycle. Kull went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, an RBI and a home run, while freshman designated player Kiersten Carlomango batted 2-for-3. Junior right fielder Samantha Belmonte (2-for-4, one run scored), junior left fielder Erin Walsh (2-for-4, one run scored) and freshman second baseman Becca Raymond (2-for-3) all had multi-hit days for Centenary (N.J.).
Kean 10, New Paltz 6
New Paltz was unable to complete the Garden State sweep, falling in a 7-1 hole early to Kean. Both teams’ bats came alive, as they combined for 26 hits (14 for Kean, 12 for New Paltz).
The Hawks struck first, with Kull scoring Burgess with a single to center field in the first inning. Kean, however, scored twice in the home half of the first, with senior left fielder Sandra Binkiewicz ripping an RBI triple to right field and junior first baseman Courtney Yard driving in a run with a single up the middle.
Yard posted her second RBI of the day in the third to make it a 3-1 score, and Kean broke the game open in the fourth, scoring four runs in the frame. Freshman second baseman Emily Sabo plated two runs off a single to the pitcher before an error allowed two more runs to come across with runners on second and third.
New Paltz countered in the fifth, as Burgess stole home on a double steal before junior pinch runner Juliette Verso came across on a Fiore single down the left-field line.
Kean received yet another big inning in the bottom half of the fifth, though, as two runs were pushed across off a bunt single by senior right fielder Megan Cegielski before Cegielski scored off a Binkiewicz RBI single.
New Paltz tried to rally in the late innings, scoring three runs across the sixth and seventh frames. Burgess plated senior designated player Chelsey Locatell with a sacrifice fly in the sixth before Grande pushed across senior pitcher Amber Carozza with a single through the right side during the team’s next at-bat. Carlomango completed the game’s scoring with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Carozza allowed 10 runs (seven earned) off 14 hits and a walk in the loss, while junior pitcher Rebecca Rotola gained the win for Kean, giving up six runs (three earned) off 12 hits and two walks while striking out one.
Burgess (2-for-3, two runs scored, one RBI, one double), Kull (2-for-3, one RBI, one double) and Brewer (2-for-3, one run scored, one double) had multi-hit games for New Paltz, while five different Cougars posted more than one hit. Sabo’s bat was the most potent, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.