Softball Sweeps Weekend Series with Crusaders

 

 

Mike LeClair

Colgate softball had a perfect weekend at Holy Cross, sweeping all four games with the Crusaders.

The Raiders opened up their first doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, with junior pitcher Jesse McCarrick on the hill. Holy Cross drew first blood against McCarrick, scoring in the bottom of the first inning on some sloppy Colgate defense.

“We have people playing new positions,” sophomore Nicole Siedhof said. “[The tournaments] were nice to play in, to help us get comfortable, but it’s hard work.”

The Crusaders kept the Colgate offense at bay for a short time, but, as has been characteristic of the Colgate offense this season, the team soon broke out. In the top of the third, on the backs of three hits, a walk and an error by the Holy Cross shortstop, Colgate brought four runners across the plate, to take a 4-1 lead. The fifth inning was a similar story, with Colgate plating three runs, before capping off their offensive showing with a run in the seventh. McCarrick was superb once again on the mound for Colgate, allowing only the unfortunate first inning run, and did not allow a hit between the second and sixth innings. Colgate’s offense was well-distributed, with only junior designated hitter Amanda Eccleston collecting multiple hits in the 8-1 win.

The second game of the afternoon was a much closer affair, one that Colgate ultimately prevailed in, 4-3. Hoping to carry her momentum from the first game to the second, Colgate head coach Vickie Sax elected to start McCarrick again. Eventually, fatigue got the best of her, as she allowed runs in both the second and third innings before being pulled for first-year pitcher Michelle Hollebeke. The Colgate offense was also essentially non-existent, handled easily by the Holy Cross pitching until late in the game. Colgate finally broke through in the fifth inning, on an RBI single by senior Erin Gomez, plating Siedhof. First-year Jennifer Ortega smacked her fourth home run of the season in the sixth inning, closing the gap to one, before Colgate scored another two in the seventh, on a second RBI by Gomez, and another RBI from Ortega. Hollebeke closed the game out in the seventh, sealing the win for Colgate.

Sunday was an equally impressive day for the Raiders, as they closed out the weekend sweep with a 4-1, 10 inning win in the opener, and an 11-3 victory in the second.

Sophomore pitcher Lacy Ver Steeg was stellar for Colgate in the first game, throwing a complete-game, all 10 innings worth, allowing just five baserunners the entire game. Her offense did not help her out a whole lot until the later stages, when Amanda Eccleston’s two-run single in the 10th gave Colgate the lead, enough to give them the victory. Colgate was frustrated by their inability to put runners across their plate and seize control of the game, despite having 16 baserunners in the game to Holy Cross’s five. The Raiders win could quickly be attributed to their mental fortitude, and was by a majority of the team.

“The team attitude is very positive right now,” Siedhof said. “We are confident in ourselves, we trust our teammates, and we are ready to go out and get a Patriot League championship.”

The later game was a display of Colgate softball at its finest. With Hollebeke not at 100 percent, Sax elected to put McCarrick back on the mound, hoping for a performance similar to the previous day. While McCarrick was not quite at the standard she was before, she still did very well, allowing two earned runs in six innings of work. The offense was outstanding, however, scoring 11 runs on the back of nine hits and four Holy Cross errors. Senior Tiana Tyeskey and first-year Stephanie Hartquist were the offensive stars of the day for Colgate, driving in two and three runs, respectively. The game was Colgate’s from the start, as the Raiders brought five across the plate in the second inning. Holy Cross countered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, but Colgate then scored six unanswered runs, two in the third and four in the sixth, to provide them with a nearly insurmountable advantage.

Colgate takes on Patriot League rival Bucknell at home this weekend. The Raiders, Siedhof in particular, are confident going into this series.

“I think Bucknell will be good competition,” Siedhof said. We just came off of a 4-game sweep, and I think that momentum will carry us into the weekend. I am confident that we can go out and play our game and come out of the weekend 4-0 once again.”