SOFTBALL DOWNS #3 MARIST TO ADVANCE TO MAAC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
#5 Monmouth (25-30) – 2
#3 Marist (36-22) - 0
NEW ROCHELLE, NY – Behind another complete game shutout from junior pitcher Amanda Riley, the Monmouth University softball team defeated #3 Marist to advance to Sunday's championship round, 2-0. The Hawks will face #6 Fairfield, which is undefeated in the conference tournament thus far and beat Monmouth earlier today by a score of 4-0. Riley's final line in the elimination game over the Red Foxes included all seven innings, four hits, no runs, and nine strikeouts. Sophomore outfielder Jasmine Higa came up with another clutch hit, as her RBI double in the top of the second to score Shotzbarger gave Monmouth the eventual game-winning run. Higa later scored on a wild pitch to put the Hawks ahead 2-0. Monmouth will have to beat Fairfield twice on Sunday to claim its first ever conference title.
NOTES AND QUOTES
“It was huge to get those two runs on the board early. Marist was coming off a game where they brought the momentum. We were hoping that if we jumped on them early they would flatten out, and Amanda did the rest. I couldn't be more proud. We have to show up tomorrow and play our style of ball. If we do too much, we're not going to win. We have to beat them twice, so that's going to be a tough task, but we're going to be ready for it” – Monmouth head coach Shannon Salsburg
“My arm is feeling pretty good, surprisingly. It's the end of the season, so I just want to give it everything I have.” –Monmouth pitcher Amanda Riley
-Riley got the start in the circle for the fourth time in three days.
-In the top of the second inning, Shotzbarger led off with a walk. After hitting the clutch home run in the ninth inning against Iona, Higa drilled a double to the wall to score Shotzbarger and give Monmouth the 1-0 lead. Higa later scored on a Marist wild pitch that went to the backstop.
-In the top of the fifth inning, Morgan Balderas led off with a double to left field. The next batter Justene Reyes reached on an error to give the Hawks runners on the corners with no outs. In a double steal attempt, Reyes was tagged out at first before Balderas was thrown out at home on a close play to keep the game 2-0.
-In the bottom of the sixth, Marist singled and walked to put runners on first and second with two outs. Riley came up with her seventh strikeout to end the inning and keep Monmouth's 2-0 lead.
-In the top of the seventh, the Hawks got runners on first and second from a single and walk, but could not add any runs to their lead.
-Riley finished off the Red Foxes in the bottom of the seventh, setting down the side with two strikeouts and a groundout.
-Riley is now 3-1 in the MAAC Championships, and has pitched four straight complete games. She is the only Monmouth player to throw a pitch in four games thus far.
-Riley has registered 30 innings, 15 hits, four earned runs, and 31 strikeouts in the conference tournament.
-Higa now has two game-winning hits in this year's MAAC Championships, with the other coming from a solo home run in the ninth inning against Iona.
-Monmouth registered five hits in the game, while Marist had just four.
-Morgan Balderas was 2-for-3 against the Red Foxes, including a double and a walk.
-Senior Justene Reyes registered Monmouth's other hit, as she singled up the middle in the top of the first.
#5 Monmouth will take on #6 Fairfield on Sunday starting at noon. The game can be seen on ESPN3, as the Hawks look to win two games to take the conference championship.