SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sitting in a three-way tie for fourth in the Northeast Conference, the Bryant University softball team hosts league-leading Saint Francis U. on Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m.
The Bulldogs (10-31, 5-5 NEC) went 3-1 against NEC foes last weekend, including a sweep over Fairleigh Dickinson. The wins helped lift the Black and Gold to .500 in league play, placing them tied for fourth with Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart. Undefeated in league play, Saint Francis U. leads the NEC, while Robert Morris sits second and Wagner in third.
VS. NEC OPPONENTS
Bryant is 5-5 in league play, coming off a dominant weekend in which the Bulldogs swept Fairleigh Dickinson, 7-0, in both games. The electric offense helped the Bulldogs improve their batting average to .249 in NEC action, while their slugging and on base percentage has increased to .323 and .345, respectively. In the weekend, Bryant totaled 17 runs off 27 hits, totaling four doubles, a triple and two home runs.
THE MAD BATTER
Freshman Nicole Zukowski (Medford, N.Y.) has exploded onto the scene in conference play, boasting a .310 batting average, .323 on base percentage and .552 slugging percentage against league competitors. The rookie has recorded a hit in each of the last four games, totaling a single, a double and three homers. Zukowski put two over the fence in game one against the Knights and recorded her third homer of the season in game one against Providence. The New York native totaled seven RBIs in the two games combined.
SCOUTING THE RED FLASH
The Red Flash (35-9, 8-0) enter Saturday's doubleheader on an eight-game winning streak and are undefeated in league play, setting a new program record for wins. SFU has swept FDU, LIU Brooklyn, Robert Morris and Mount St. Mary's this season. The Red Flash have only recorded three losses in the months of March and April, most recently falling to Pittsburgh, 8-3, in nine innings. SFU's nine wins over top 100 teams has helped the Red Flash rank 57th in the latest RPI poll.
SCOUTING THE PLAYERS
Cheyenne McKee leads the offense, batting .396, placing her third in the conference, while the team averages .287. McKee has totaled nine doubles, four triples, five home runs, 26 RBI and is tied for the most runs in the country with 54. Haley Norton and Jordan Seneca have combined for 27 home runs this season with Seneca leading the NEC with 16. Six players have recorded 20+ RBIs this season with Seneca leading with 52, placing her seventh in the country.
The Saint Francis U. pitching staff holds a NEC-leading average ERA of 2.26, while Mikayla Bower tops the unit with a 1.40 ERA. Ethel Santai is the winningest pitcher, posting a 13-1 record and a 1.82 ERA. Ketarah DeVries has thrown a staff-high 87 strikeouts this season, while she holds a 2.37 ERA and 9-5 record. DeVries has become the Red Flashes' all-time leader in wins and totals over 400 strikeouts in her career.
The Bulldogs are 10-5 all-time against the Red Flash, but SFU enters on a three-game winning streak against the Black and Gold.