NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Raelynn Galindo (Yorba Linda, Calif./Yorba Linda), Alicia DeSanto (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby), Nikki Sandelier (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township) and Rachel Shotzbarger (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) had three hits apiece as the Monmouth University softball team split its MAAC doubleheader at Niagara Saturday. Niagara won a pitchers’ duel in Game 1, 2-1, before the Hawks’ offense erupted for an 11-3 victory in six innings in Game 2. With the split, the Hawks are now 16-18 (7-7 MAAC), while the Purple Eagles moved to 14-28 (4-10 MAAC).
Galindo did all her damage in Game 2, going 3-for-4 with a double, three RBI’s and a run scored. DeSanto went 2-for-2 with a home run and a stolen base in Game 1, before adding a 1-for-4 effort with a run in Game 2. Sandelier went 2-for-3 in Game 1 and 1-for-3 in Game 2, while Shotzbarger backed a 1-for-2 effort in Game 1 with a 2-for-4 performance with a double, an RBI and two runs scored in Game 2.
Justene Reyes (Carson, Calif./Warren) went 2-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored in Game 2. Lauren Howard (Orange, Calif./Foothill) also added a hit, two RBI’s and a run scored in Game 2. Sydney Underhill (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) pitched all 12 innings for the Hawks, allowing five earned runs on 14 hits and five walks, striking out 12.
In Game 1, the Purple Eagles scored single runs in the 3rd and 5th innings, and that’d be all Niagara pitcher Jennifer Sansano would need. Chanelle Ward doubled home Brittany Richberg with the first run, before Richberg doubled, moved to third on a groundout and stole home for the second run in the 5th. The Hawks immediately get one run back in the top of the 6th, when DeSanto led off the inning with a home run to center. But that was as close as the Hawks would get, falling 2-1.
Niagara jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st of Game 2. A pair of walks set the table for Desarae Maldonado’s RBI single up the middle. Amanda Werth immediately followed with an RBI single of her own, this time down the right field line, to make it 2-0 Purple Eagles after one inning.
The Hawks offense finally erupted for five runs in the 3rd. Howard walked and took second on an error during DeSanto’s at bat. Another error with Cardoza at the plate allowed Howard to score and put runners on first and second with no one out. Reyes followed with a double to score DeSanto and put runners on second and third. Another error on Shotzbarger’s fly ball to left allowed Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) to score, before Galindo came through with a two-out, two-run double to score Reyes and Shotzbarger and give Monmouth a 5-2 lead.
The Purple Eagles got a run back on Richberg’s RBI single up the middle in the bottom of the 4th. But Monmouth kept the offensive pressure on with three more runs in the 5th. Shotzbarger homered with one out in the inning, before Flores tripled to left center. Galindo stayed hot with an RBI single up the middle to score Flores. Meagan Newton-Pender (Holbrook, Ariz./Holbrook) followed with a single, before Howard capped the inning with an RBI single through the right side to score Galindo, staking the Hawks to an 8-3 lead.
The Hawks didn’t rest there, posting three more runs in the 6th. Reyes and Shotzbarger doubled consecutively to begin the inning and give Monmouth a 9-3 lead. Following a pitching change, Kayleena Flores (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony) singled to left center to score Shotzbarger and Galindo singled through the right side to put runners on first and second, still with no outs. Following a fielder’s choice that put runners on the corners with one out, Howard grounded out to Flores, putting Monmouth up 11-3 heading to the bottom of the 6th.
The Purple Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the 6th, but Underhill held them off the scoreboard to complete the abbreviated, six-inning victory.
The Hawks return to MAAC action in Western New York Sunday, when they travel to Canisius. First pitch is slated for noon.