WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – Monmouth University softball senior Kaitie Schumacher (San Diego, Calif./Scripps Ranch) drove in the go-ahead run in both games on Senior Day as the Hawks swept Manhattan, 8-7 and 4-2, Sunday afternoon at MU Softball Park. With the sweep, the Hawks improve to 21-19 (12-8 MAAC) and stake claim to the No. 5 seed in the MAAC Championships, beginning this Wednesday at Fairfield University. The Hawks will face fourth-seeded Siena at 2:30 p.m. Manhattan, which entered the doubleheader tied with Monmouth at 10-8 in MAAC play, ends the regular season at 22-27 (10-10 MAAC).
The Hawks came from behind in both games, with Schumacher breaking a 6-6 tie in Game 1 with a sacrifice fly and turning a 2-1 deficit in Game 2 into a 4-2 lead with a three-run home run in the 6th. Raelynn Galindo (Yorba Linda, Calif./Yorba Linda), Rachel Shotzbarger (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) and Alicia DeSanto (Upper Darby, Pa./Upper Darby) added two hits, an RBI and a run scored each. Shannon Fitzgerald (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia), Kayleena Flores (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony) and Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) also had a hit and a run each, while Cardoza drove in two and Flores had one RBI.
Jill Freese (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area) had three walks and two runs scored, while Lauren Howard (Orange, Calif./Foothill) scored twice as a pinch runner. Breanna Sniffen (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange [St. Petersburg College]) earned the Game 1 victory, pitching four innings of one-run relief. Sydney Underhill (Temecula, Calif./Chaparral) started both games and hurled a complete-game victory in Game 2, allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits and six walks, while striking out six.
Game 1 got off to an ominous start, with Manhattan scoring six runs in the 2nd on three hits, three walks, an error and a hit-by-pitch. The Hawks returned the favor in the 3rd, scoring six runs of their own on two hits, six walks and a hit-by-pitch. Galindo led off with a double, while DeSanto, Cardoza, Flores and Freese added bases-loaded walks. Reyes was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score a run, while Shotzbarger added an RBI single.
The Hawks scored twice in the bottom of the 6th to take an 8-6 lead. Galindo led off with a hit-by-pitch and Freese followed with a walk. Howard pinch ran for Galindo, moved to third on Fitzgerald’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Schumacher’s sacrifice fly that hung up in a stiff wind in left field. Cardoza then plated Freese with a two-out single through the left side to give Monmouth a two-run lead.
Manhattan got a run back in the 7th. The first two batters reached on a walk and a single, before the Hawks got consecutive force outs at third. Reyes made a gutsy play, fielding Stephanie Reinhardt’s attempt at a sacrifice bunt and just beat Andi Stallard for the force at third base. Shotzbarger then fielded a ground ball and flipped the short way to third for the second out. The Jaspers got on the board on Amy Bright’s single down the right field line, leaving runners on the corners. But Sniffen got pinch hitter Anna Crowley to ground out to third for the final out.
Manhattan similarly scored twice in the 2nd inning of Game 2 without benefit of a hit. Two walks, an error and a wild pitch allowed the Jaspers to establish a 2-0 lead. Monmouth got a run back in the bottom of the 2nd. Flores singled with one out, before moving to second on a wild pitch. She then scored on Galindo’s single to center.
The Hawks took the lead for good in the 6th. Reyes led off with a hit-by-pitch, before Shotzbarger singled to center. After the Jaspers recorded the first out of the inning, Schumacher blasted a pinch-hit, three-run home run to left. Underhill allowed the leadoff batter to reach on a walk in the top of the 7th, but Flores skied to nab Sydney Weedon’s line drive, doubling off the base runner from first. She then induced a shallow fly ball to left that DeSanto handled to complete the victory.