Pitching dominates as softball sweeps doubleheader vs Pace

Midweek doubleheaders can be a challenge for teams to hit the ground running and put themselves in a position to come away with a win. Coming off another doubleheader earlier in the week, being ready to play at your best against a conference opponent in a key matchup is crucial. Especially when the matchup could be the deciding factor in who plays for a conference championship.

With a pair of wins against Pace University, the New Haven softball team kept themselves in a position to sneak into a spot in the Northeast-10 (NE-10) playoffs. Two complete games on the mound led the way for the Chargers, who were able to keep Pace playing from behind with the help of timely hits to seal the sweep of the doubleheader.

New Haven struck first in game one with a leadoff double from center fielder Bella Chenet, followed by a double from right fielder Olivia Roberto that plated Chenet and gave the Chargers an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Getting the start for the Chargers in game one was right-hander Selena Aponte, who earned her fourth win of the season, allowing four runs on six hits in a complete game.

New Haven tacked on another run in the third after Chenet hit her second double of the game and came around to score after two wild pitches to put them ahead by two.

Pace responded in the top of the fourth, scoring two to tie the game. After a leadoff walk to designated hitter Sammi Swenson, first baseman Brianna Shea got the Setters on the board with a double to left-center field and advanced to third on the throw which allowed Swenson to score from first. Catcher Haley Rusbuldt then lined a single to right-center field, bringing Shea across for the second run of the inning.

After a scoreless bottom of the fourth, Pace took their first lead of the game in the fifth on an error by New Haven which put the Setters ahead by one. New Haven responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to knot the score at three.

Left fielder Hailey Polisano led off the fifth with a single before advancing to second on a groundout. She then stole third on a walk to Roberto and scored on a single through the left side of the infield off the bat of shortstop Maeve Lougheed as New Haven tied the game again. The Chargers threatened again with a single from catcher Halle Frederick, but Roberto was thrown out at home to end the inning and keep the game tied.

Pace took a one-run lead in the top of the sixth on an RBI single from center fielder Gwen Pederson that brought Rusbuldt around to score after a one-out double to right-center field. Aponte retired the next two batters in order to end the inning and keep New Haven in the game as they had just six outs to try and turn the outlook of the game around.

Four runs coming across to score in the bottom of the sixth did just that for New Haven. The Chargers broke the game open, taking advantage of the run-scoring opportunities they were given as they overcame the deficit and found themselves with a comfortable lead.

Third baseman Ashley Veisz got the inning started with a leadoff single, later coming around to score on a one-out single down the right-field line by Aponte to tie the game at four. The big blow of the inning came off the bat of Roberto, as a two-run single gave the Chargers a two-run lead. Lougheed followed with another single and advanced to second on the second error of the inning, allowing Roberto to score to take a three-run lead.

Aponte shut the door in the top of the seventh with a groundout to third to end the game and seal New Haven’s 7-4 victory.

Graduate right-hander Mia Iodice got the start in game two for New Haven as she earned her seventh win of the season in a dominant performance, going the distance and allowing just one run on six hits with three strikeouts to ensure the doubleheader sweep.

New Haven got on the board early once again in game two as Frederick delivered her first RBI hit of the game with a double down the right-field line, scoring Roberto to take a 1-0 lead. The Chargers stranded two runners in scoring position with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.

New Haven tacked on another run in the third after a one-out double from Lougheed began the threat. Frederick continued her hot start at the plate with her second double of the game to right-center field that brought Lougheed around the bases as they opened up a two-run lead.

Pace’s only run of the game came in the top of the fifth on a throwing error by Iodice that allowed Rusbuldt to score, but she quickly escaped the jam with three consecutive outs to strand runners on second and third.

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, New Haven added an insurance run to take a 3-1 lead. Frederick lined her third double of the game to right-center field before Anderson knocked her in with a single to left that proved to be all of the offense the Chargers would need to come away with another huge win.

Iodice worked around trouble in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the game for New Haven, sweeping the doubleheader to keep the Chargers in the playoff race. Heading into the final stretch of the regular season, New Haven will look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they enter a huge stretch of doubleheaders to close the season. More information can be found at newhavenchargers.com.