SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University softball team made a statement on Saturday afternoon, shutting out Fairleigh Dickinson in two-straight games after defeating the Knights, 7-0, 7-0, in the NEC doubleheader.
The Bulldogs (9-29, 4-5 NEC) took a 2-0 lead over the Knights (2-24, 0-7) in the bottom of the second, following freshman Nicole Zukowski's (Medford, N.Y.) two-run home run down the left field line, marking the first of her career.
In the top of the third, junior Rachel Monroe (Southwick, Mass.) turned a double play, tagging third for the force out before feeding Zukowski for the out at first.
The Black and Gold took a commanding 7-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs off four hits. Freshman Gabrielle Ermish (Pottstown, Pa.) led off with a double down the left field line, before classmate Tiffany Bell (Egg Harbor City, N.J.) stepped in to pinch run for her. Senior Haylee Haas (Moorpark, Calif.) then reached on an error by the FDU first baseman, before moving to second on an error by the shortstop, while Bell scored unearned on the error.
Sophomore Kaleigh Goulart (Marion, Mass.) followed with an RBI single through the left side, plating Haas for Bryant's 4-0 advantage. With one out and runners on first and second, Zukowski sent yet another over the left field fence, giving the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
The Knights mustered up three more hits in the final two innings, but the Bulldogs' defense was solid not allowing a single run. Bryant's 7-0 win marked its second shutout of the season.
Zukowski went 2-for-3 with two runs and five RBI, including her first two career home runs. Seniors Taylor Burger (Killingworth, Conn.) and Lauren Keast (Holliston, Mass.) also went 2-for-3 in game one. Ermish moved to 7-6 on the season, allowing no runs off three hits, while fanning six batters for the second time this season.
Summer Mendoza went 2-for-3 in the contest, while the Knights finished with six hits. Cheryl Lopez was dealt the loss after giving up six runs off seven hits, while recording three strikeouts.
The Bulldogs (10-29, 5-5 NEC) took game two by the same margin, 7-0, this time firing off four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Black and Gold took an early 1-0 edge over the Knights (2-25, 0-8) in the bottom of the second after Ermish hit an RBI single down the right field line, before advancing to third on an error by the right fielder, allowing Monroe to score unearned.
The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth, following a walk, error and fielder's choice. Haas was hit on her first pitch, taking first as sophomore Gianna Pizzano (Saugus, Mass.) scored from third to push the margin to two, 2-0. Keast was then walked, bringing in another Bryant run, 3-0, before Madison Emerson checked in on the mound.
With no outs, Goualrt hit a sacrifice fly to left field, as Ermish scored unearned to make it a four-run game. Burger followed with a RBI single through the right side, plating Haas for the Bulldogs' 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the next frame, Bryant solidified its second 7-0 win over FDU, scoring two runs off two hits. With two outs, Ermish doubled to left field, before moving to third on Haas' single up the middle.
Haas and Ermish caught the defense off guard, stealing second and home at the same time, as Bryant went up 6-0. On the next at bat, Keast reached on an error by the third baseman and Haas advanced to second, before scoring on the error, solidifying the Bulldogs' 7-0 victory.
Ermish went 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI, while also earning the win of the mound, letting up just five hits, while fanning four.
Holly Mercier went 2-for-3, as the Knights totaled six hits. Erica Johnson recorded the loss in the circle, allowing five runs off four hits and walked four.
The Bulldogs take a timeout from NEC play to take on Providence on Wednesday, April 19, at 4 and 6 p.m. in the capital.