Softball advances to championship round of MAAC tourney with win over Marist


 

Image: Laura CartaThe Fairfield University softball team remained in the winners bracket of the 2011 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament with a 3-2 win over host and third-seed Marist College on Friday afternoon. The top-seeded Stags will return to the diamond on Saturday at noon, needing to win one game to capture the tournament title and the program's first-ever berth to the NCAA tournament.

For the second straight day, pitcher Sarah Minice kept the opposition in check with a strong performance. The senior surrendered five hits and issued three walks, but was able to work out of any trouble for most of the game. Minice struck out seven hitters to win her 18th game of the season.

The Stags provided her with a quick lead in the top of the first inning. Leadoff batter Kristen Filicia just missed an infield hit by less than half a step, which proved to be an important out for the Red Foxes. Centerfielder Mikayla Shumate followed with a base hit to right field, bringing Lauren Liseth to the plate. The catcher, who was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year last night, drilled a pitch over the center field fence to stake the Stags to a 2-0 lead.

Kristina Lingo followed with a walk and promptly stole second. The catcher's throw to the base skipped past the fielder and allowed Lingo to continue to third base. Lingo was stranded at third base as the next two hitters struck out.

Minice retired the first six hitters that she faced, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third inning. Haley Birnbaum led off the inning with a walk, bringing Caitlin Schell to the plate. She placed a bunt back to the pitcher, but the throw to second was late which put runners at first and second. After a strikeout, Ashley Coriss doubled down the right field line to send home the first run and place runners at second and third. Sarah Carmody lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score the tying run. The next batter was retired on a fly ball to left field, keeping the score 2-2.

Fairfield scored the game-winning run in its next at-bat in the top of the fourth inning. Lingo led off with an infield hit and was sacrificed to second by Alli Wigand. Rae Ball followed with an infield hit that was smothered just past second base, causing Lingo to stay at second. Laura Carta was next to the plate and she drilled a single up the middle that sent Lingo home for a 3-2 Fairfield lead.

Minice allowed a hit in three of the final four innings she pitched, retiring the side in order in the sixth inning. But the pitcher was able to work out of the jams unscathed to keep the Stags in the lead.

Fairfield now awaits the results of today's 1 and 3 p.m. games to see which team will advance to the championship round tomorrow.

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Media Contact: Jack Jones, (203) 254-4116

Posted on May 13, 2011