FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Freshman Justene Reyes (Carson, Calif./Warren) hit a two-run single in the 3rd inning and fellow first-year player Sydney Underhill pitched a three-hitter as the fifth-seeded Monmouth University softball team defeated No. 4 Siena, 2-1, in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships Wednesday at Fairfield University’s Alumni Softball Field. With the win, the Hawks advance to face top-seeded Marist tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.
Freshman Rachel Shotzbarger (Saugus, Calif./Saugus) added a 2-for-3 effort, while Vanessa Cardoza (Santa Ana, Calif./Ocean View) and Shannon Fitzgerald (Santa Clarita, Calif./Valencia) also chipped in with one hit apiece. Jill Freese (Oxford, Pa./Oxford Area) and Nikki Sandelier (Turnersville, N.J./Washington Township) each walked and scored in the two-run 3rd inning. Underhill allowed just one unearned run on three hits and one walk. She struck out four.
The Hawks struck first in the top of the 3rd, loading the bases with one out on walks by Freese, Sandelier and DeSanto. After Cardoza lined out to second base for the second out, Reyes came through with a single back up the middle to give Monmouth a 2-1 lead.
After allowing a leadoff single in the 1st, Underhill retired eight Saints in a row. Stephanie Viggiano, who had the leadoff single in the 1st, again struck for a single with two outs in the 3rd. But Underhill got the final out of the inning to preserve the 2-0 lead.
The only additional blemish on Underhill’s record through the 5th was a two-out walk in the bottom of the 5th. Siena struck for an unearned run in the 6th. Underhill bobbled Melanie Kalesse’s grounder back to the circle for an error with one out. Kalesse then stole second and scored on Jessica-Jo Sandrini’s two-out single through the right side. But Underhill limited the damage to one run, inducing a groundout to third base to end the inning.
Underhill worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 7th inning, getting two groundouts and a strikeout to complete the victory.