Clermont, Fla … The College of New Jersey softball team registered its first sweep of the season as they defeated Fitchburg State, 5-0 and Westfield State, 9-3 in the nightcap.
The Lions jumped to 6-3 overall and did so with timely hitting (22 hits) and solid pitching (two earned runs) to overcome six errors committed in the twin-bill.
Game One: TCNJ 5 Fitchburg 0
The Lions jumped to a 3-0 in the first and that would be all Sam Platt (Cedar Grove, NJ/Mount Saint Dominic Academy) would need as she shutout the Beavers, 5-0.
Rookie Jess Santelli (Hillsborough, NJ/Hillsborough) had another big game at the plate, going 4-for-4 with two runs scored, and an RBI. Senior Jaime Purcell (Nutley, NJ/Mount Saint Dominic Academy) and sophomore Madison Levine (Oakland, NJ/Indian Hills) contributed to hits apiece as the offense churned out 11 hits in the win.
A two-out rally in the first set the tone for the morning contest. With two outs and nobody on base, TCNJ strung together five consecutive hits, including a double from Levine and a triple from freshman Gaby Bennett (Hamilton, NJ/Steinert). Before the dust settled, the Lions owned a 3-0 advantage before Fitchburg got to the plate.
Platt retired the first eight batters she faced and allowed one runner to reach third base through seven innings. She induced 12 ground ball outs and struck out four to move to 3-1 on the season.
TCNJ tacked on a run in the second when Santelli drove in Steph Vuono (Voorhees, NJ/Eastern), who had walked. In the fifth, Santelli raced home off a bunt from sophomore Jess McGuire (Belmar, NJ/Red Bank Regional) to provide an insurance run.
Fitchburg put two runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Platt ended the threat by getting a called third strike for the final out.
Game Two: TCNJ 9 Westfield 3
Senior Katie Hourihan (Neptune, NJ/Neptune) returned to the mound and rose to the occasion. She limited the Owls to five hits over seven innings and struck out four to capture her first win of the season.
Westfield took a 1-0 lead in the first off an RBI-triple, but their advantage was quickly erased in the bottom of the inning. Vuono singled out of the leadoff spot and Santelli doubled to chase Vuono and draw even with the Owls.
The Lions took command in the second with three runs on a pair of hits. The big blow was a two-run single off the bat of Colleen Phelan (Tinton Falls, NJ/Monmouth Regional).
Leading 4-1 in the fifth, TCNJ tacked on two more runs. Senior Deanna Utter (Byram, NJ/Lenape Valley Regional) ignited the rally with a leadoff triple to left field. Cathy Drury (Flanders, NJ/Mt. Olive) entered to pinch-run and came home on an RBI-ground out by freshman Daniella Marino (Hazlet, NJ/Raritan). Vuono reached on a bunt single and Santelli slammed a triple to drive in her second run of the game.
In the sixth, Phelan belted the Lions’ third triple of the game and knocked in two more runs. A ground ball to short by Santelli plated Phelan to cap the scoring.
Phelan and Santelli (hitting in the two and three spots) combined for seven runs batted in during the game. Vuono and Jess McGuire (Stockton, NJ/Hunterdon Central) also finished with two hits.
TCNJ will look to sustain the momentum tomorrow morning (Wednesday) when they face Bethel University at 9 a.m. and University of New England at 11 a.m.