Ewing, N.J. … The College of New Jersey softball team split a doubleheader with Ithaca College on Saturday afternoon at Dr. June Walker Field.
The Lions (11-7) dropped a 6-4 decision in the opener, but rebounded to post a 2-1 victory in the second game. The Bombers moved to 9-5 with the split.
Game 1: Ithaca 6 TCNJ 4
Despite a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh, TCNJ had too much distance to overcome as they fell to Ithaca in the opener 6-4. The Bombers plated six runs in the fourth inning, which accounted for all of their runs.
The Lions took the 1-0 lead when Kristen Fitzsimmons (Sayreville, NJ/Sayreville War Memorial) drove in a run on a ground out in the bottom of the third inning.
Ithaca got on the board in the top of the fourth with six runs to take command of the contest. Shortstop Hannah Anderson and left fielder Allie Colleran each had run-scoring doubles.
Down 6-1 going into their last at bat, the Lions loaded the bases with two outs. Senior Steph Vuono (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern) blasted a double to left field off the base of the fence to clear the bases. The rally fell just short, as Ithaca reliever Haley Congdon got the final out to secure their ninth win.
Laura Quicker pitched six innings to earn the win for the Bombes. She moved to 5-2 on the season.
Sophomore Sam Platt (Cedar Grove, NJ/Mount Saint Dominic Academy) got the start on the mound for the Lions and allowed just four hits, while striking out two. Freshman Sara Bielamowicz (Lawrence Township, NJ/Lawrence) came on in relief in the fourth inning to finish out the game; striking out three while allowing only one hit.
Game 2: TCNJ 2 Ithaca 1
Katie Hourihan (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) put forth an exceptional effort when the Lions needed a lift, firing six and third innings for her third win of the season. Hourihan gave up just two hits and struck out eight. Senior Ashtin Helmer (Succusunna, NJ/Roxbury) came on in relief and struck out the final two batters for the win.
TCNJ got on the board in the second. Freshman Jess McGuire (Stockton, NJ/Hunterdon Central) ripped a single up the middle to score Jess Stevenson (Belmar, NJ/Red Bank Regional) and give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
A two-out rally in the fourth led to TCNJ’s second run of the game. Senior Jamie Purcell (Nutley, NJ/Mount Saint Dominic Academy) and freshman Jess Santelli (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough) both singled. Vuono then lined a base hit over the head of the shortstop to plate Santelli and stretch the lead to 2-0.
Hourihan was cruising along and had a no-hitter going entering the sixth inning. Vanessa Brown tapped a swinging bunt to the left side for an infield single to break up the no-hit bid. Hourihan did throw a no-hitter last season against New Jersey University on April 4, 2015.
Bomber Hannah Anderson hit a solo home run in the seventh to make it a 2-1 game. But Helmer dominated the final two batters to seal the Lions 11th victory of the season.
The Lions are back in action Wednesday, March 30 when they host Cabrini College in a doubleheader. The first game is scheduled for 2 p.m. with the second to follow at 4 p.m.