By Brian Savard
WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – After a weeklong break from competition, the State University of New York at New Paltz softball team showed no sign of rust, as the Hawks swept Wilkes University in a non-conference doubleheader at the Ralston Athletic Complex. New Paltz won game one, 10-1, in five innings before claiming game two, 10-2.
Junior pitcher Erika Traina, who claimed the save in game two, took sole possession of first all-time in career saves in the program’s record book, as she now has four across three seasons at New Paltz.
New Paltz rises to 3-7 overall with the wins and next entertains Farmingdale State College in its home opener on Wednesday, March 26, at 3 p.m. Wilkes drops to 1-9 overall and hosts Lebanon Valley College on Tuesday, March 25, at 3 p.m.
Game 1: New Paltz 10, Wilkes 1 (5 innings)
New Paltz poured on the offense early in game one and clamped down defensively to enact the eight-run rule after the Colonels batted in the fifth.
Senior first baseman Chelsea Kull opened scoring in the first, driving in junior catcher Shayna Burgess with an RBI double. Wilkes answered right back in the home half of the inning, though, with junior first baseman Alex Hoops plating freshman center fielder Makenna Rushannon with an RBI base knock. New Paltz made it a three-run game in second, with senior right fielder Chelsey Locatell pushing across two runs with a double to right center and Burgess driving in Locatell with a single down the left-field line.
The Hawks broke the game open in the third, scoring four runs, and a two-run double by sophomore third baseman Nicole DeCosta in the fifth pushed the tally to 10-1. Wilkes was unable to capitalize on a one-out walk in the bottom of the inning, and the Hawks clinched the game one win.
Sophomore pitcher Katie Rutcofsky earned the win in the circle for the Hawks, yielding one run off three hits and a walk while striking out two in three innings of work. Senior pitcher Alysha Bixler picked up the loss for the Colonels, allowing eight runs (six earned) off seven hits and three walks while striking out one.
Locatell’s 3-for-3 outing at the plate keyed the New Paltz attack, notching four RBI, a run scored and a double. Freshman catcher Lacey Bixler’s 2-for-2 performance led Wilkes offensively.
Game 2: New Paltz 10, Wilkes 2
The eight-run rule never came into play in game two since the Hawks did not post that eight-run advantage until a three-run seventh. Nevertheless, the Hawks scattered 16 hits in the contest.
Junior shortstop Meg Brewer put the Hawks on the board in the first with an RBI single to the shortstop, and after a scoreless second and third, DeCosta blasted a two-run homer to left. New Paltz gained a 5-0 advantage in the fifth inning, as freshman pitcher Kiersten Carlomagno drove in Burgess off an error with no outs before junior left fielder Noelle Grande doubled in two runs later on in the frame.
The Colonels gained their only runs of the nightcap in the fifth, as a defensive miscue on a fielder’s choice play allowed two runners to cross home plate. New Paltz closed out the contest by scoring four times across the sixth and seventh innings, with Traina posting an RBI single in the sixth before three runs came across in the top of the seventh.
Carlomagno was the game-two winner for New Paltz, lasting four scoreless innings while scattering three hits and striking out two. Traina picked up the save, as she hurled three innings and allowed two unearned runs off two hits and a walk while striking out one. Freshman pitcher Meghan Kisela suffered the loss for Wilkes, permitting 10 runs (seven earned) off 16 hits and three walks while striking out three.
Burgess and Kull each had three hits for the Hawks. Burgess went 3-for-5 and was a home run shy of the cycle, tallying two runs scored, an RBI, a double and a triple. Kull hit 3-for-4 with a run scored. For Wilkes, senior catcher Jordan Borger batted 2-for-3.