HACKENSACK, N.J. – The Bryant University softball team used a six-run eighth inning to earn a doubleheader split with the Fairleigh Dickinson University Knights in the team's Northeast Conference opener on Friday afternoon in Hackensack.
Fairleigh Dickinson 2, Bryant 0
Bryant 12, Fairleigh Dickinson 6 (8 innings)
Records: Bryant (7-18, 1-1 NEC), Fairleigh Dickinson (8-17, 1-1 NEC)
Location: FDU Softball Field | Hackensack, N.J.
COACH LOTITO'S COMMENTS:
I'm happy that we were able to pull a split. We need to be better at taking care of the little things as a whole. FDU played a clean game and executed well and we just need to make sure going forward we play cleanly, do our jobs and build that second.
The mood going into the top of the eighth was frustration across the board. I think Gianna's leadership, with that home run, sparked and showed that same fight that we showed last weekend. We just need to have that same fight all game long.
KEY MOMENT (Game 1)
- In the sixth inning, FDU's Reanna Cervantes doubled to center field to score Serena Meehan for the game's second run.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Game 1)
- Senior Rachel Monroe (Southwick, Mass.) singled to center in the second inning for the first Bryant hit of the game.
- FDU got on the board in the fourth inning. Cervantes doubled to score Holly Mercier before getting thrown out at third base.
- In the top of the sixth, sophomore Gabrielle Ermish (Pottstown, Pa.) walked with one out to give the Bulldogs a baserunner. Freshman Sabrina Crane (Newtown, Pa.) pinch-ran and stole second but was unable to score.
- Cervantes' double scored the Knights' second run in the bottom half of the inning.
- Senior Robyn Ukegawa (Carlsbad, Calif.) singled in the seventh inning, as did sophomore Tiffany Bell (Egg Harbor City, N.J.). However, Bryant was unable to cross the plate.
STATS (Game 1)
- Bell went 2-for-3 in the game. She singled in the third and seventh innings.
- Monroe, Ukegawa and junior Jessica Gradillas (Nogales, Ariz.) also had hits in the game.
- Ermish threw six innings and allowed just two earned runs. She struck out one in the game.
KEY MOMENT (Game 2)
- After a single from Ukegawa to start the eighth inning, senior Gianna Pizzano (Saugus, Mass.) launched a home run to center field to give the Bulldogs a 8-6 lead. The home run was the beginning of a six-run inning for Bryant.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Game 2)
- FDU got on the board first, on a solo home run off the bat of Cervantes.
- Bryant answered back in the second inning. After Bell singled with two outs, junior Kaleigh Goulart (Marion, Mass.) sent a two-run home run over the field in left-center to give the Black and Gold a 2-1 lead.
- The Knights scored three runs in the fourth to take a 4-2 lead. Holly Mercier singled to score two runs, and Abby England singled to right field to score her from third.
- In the fifth inning, Goulart doubled to center field to score Bell. Goulart scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Gradillas. Monroe singled to score sophomore Nicole Davis (Toms River, N.J.) for the third Bulldog run of the inning.
- Monroe helped give the Bulldogs an insurance run in the seventh inning. With freshman Sabrina Crane on second, Monroe reached on an error by the FDU right fielder.
- FDU fought back and scored two runs in the home half of the inning and force the game into extra innings.
- Pizzano's home run gave the Bulldogs an 8-6 lead before Goulart added to the Bulldogs inning with an RBI double to score sophomore Helaina Michaud (Phoenixville, Pa.). Gradillas, Monroe and freshman Morgan Powell (Murrieta, Calif.) delivered three-straight RBI singles to cap off the Bulldog scoring.
STATS (Game 2)
- Goulart went 3-for-5 in the second game, with two doubles and a home run. She plated four runs in the game.
- Gradillas and Monroe each had three hits. Gradillas doubled in the fourth inning.
- Goulart, Gradillas, Monroe, and Pizzano all had multi-RBI games.
- Senior Logan Paul (Shaker Heights, Ohio) earned the win. Paul threw 1.1 scoreless innings in relief.
- Friday's second game saw Bryant achieve new season-bests in hits (17) and runs (12).
- In her last five games, Gradillas is batting .583 (7-for-12) with six RBI. Over the same span, Goulart is batting .389 (7-for-18) with five RBI.
- After hitting an inside-the-park home run at Hartford for her first-career homer on Sunday, Pizzano hit her first out-of-the-park home run on Friday and is tied for the team lead with two.
- Bryant moves to 2-0 in extra-inning games in 2018.
- Bryant is now 14-6 all-time versus Fairleigh Dickinson.
The Bulldogs will enjoy two off days before taking on the University of Connecticut Huskies on Tuesday in Storrs, Connecticut. The team will play in its home-opener on Wednesday when the Black and Gold host UMass Lowell. Both games are set to begin at 4 p.m.