Stonehill Wraps Up Florida Trip With Doubleheader Split Against Molloy

Skyhawks drop first game before erasing five-run deficit to take second contest

Sophomore Megan Staudle went 2-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and two runs in two games today.
CLERMONT, Fla. (March 15, 2014) – The Stonehill College softball team wrapped up its 12-game season-opening trip at the Dot Richardson Spring Games in Clermont, Fla. today with a doubleheader split against three-time defending East Coast Conference champion Molloy College in non-conference action at Hancock Park. Stonehill dropped the opener, 5-4, before coming back from a five-run deficit to take the second game, 7-6.

Molloy 5, Stonehill 4

Molloy defeated Stonehill in the season opener for the Lions after scoring three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead for good. Molloy was led by senior Nicolette Sinagra (Brooklyn, N.Y./New Utrecht), who went 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs and two RBI. Sophomore Milan Botte (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) added a 2-for-3 effort with two RBI, while juniors Brenda Lee (Corona, Calif./Santiago), Victoria Gunnels (North Bellmore, N.Y./Mepham), and Brianne Catalano (Franklin Square, N.Y./H. Frank Carey) recorded one hit each.

Sophomore Tracey Balinskas (Edison, N.J./Edison) earned the win for Molloy after going all seven innings and allowing four runs on five hits to go with three strikeouts and three walks. 

Stonehill's offense was powered by sophomores Megan Staudle (New Windsor, N.Y./Cornwall Central) and Megan Ruonavaara (Rocky Hill, Conn./Rocky Hill), as both went 1-for-2 with a home run. Seniors Lindsay McKillop (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) and Jocelynne Morrell (West Haven, Conn./West Haven), and freshman Taylor Lester (East Northport, N.Y./St. Anthony's) also added hits for the Skyhawks. Ruonavaara took the loss in the circle after allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out five and walking just one.

Molloy jumped ahead 1-0 in the top of the first inning, as Sinagra led off with a double and came around to score three batters later on Botte's RBI single up the middle. Stonehill answered in the bottom half of the frame, when Staudle tied the contest with her first home run of the season.

After a scoreless second frame, the Lions took a 2-1 lead in the third inning as Sinagra again led off with a hit before being driven home on an RBI single by Botte.

Stonehill put together a rally in the third inning, starting with Morrell's single down the right field line with one out. Staudle then reached on a hit by pitch, and both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. McKillop came up next and delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2, before Ruonavaara stepped in and blasted her first home run of 2014 to give the Skyhawks a 4-2 lead.

Senior Jocelynne Morrell went 3-for-7 with two RBI and a walk.

Stonehill's lead would be short-lived, however, as Molloy got all three runs back in the next inning to regain a 5-4 lead. With one out and a runner on first, Catalano reached on an infield single, but the next batter struck out, as runners were now on first and second with two down. Sinagra tied the game with a two-run double to left field, and advanced to second on the throw home. The next play, Molloy took the lead as Lee singled to drive in Sinagra. Stonehill managed to put just two runners on base for the remainder of the contest, as the Skyhawks lost their third game in a row.  

Stonehill 7, Molloy 6

Stonehill dug itself into a five-run hole early in the second contest, but clawed back to salvage a split with a 7-6 victory. The Skyhawk offense was led by Morrell and sophomore Alison Sumski (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan), who both registered two hits and two RBI. Freshman Cassandra Squeri (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) went 2-for-2 with two runs, while Staudle, McKillop, and senior Brianna Gunter (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) each added hits as well.

Squeri earned the win for Stonehill after pitching the final 3.1 innings and holding the Lions to just one hit. Freshman Michelle Carbone (Deer Park, N.Y./St. Anthony's) posted a solid appearance in relief as well, as she allowed just one run on four hits in 3.2 innings, after replacing sophomore Sarah Ropiak (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough), who started the contest and gave up five runs without recording an out.

Botte again played a major role in the Molloy offense, as she went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI. Catalano and senior Dayna White (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) each collected two hits and one run, while Lee, senior Lauren Alexander (Huntington, N.Y./Walt), and freshman Erin Clinton (Long Beach, Calif./Cerritos) recorded one hit and one RBI apiece.

Freshman Chelsea Hawks (Wading River, N.Y./Shoreham-Wading River) took the loss for the Lions after going 6.1 innings and allowing three runs on six hits to go with five strikeouts and four walks.

Molloy had its offense working in the first inning, as the Lions put five runs on the board with the help of four hits and one Stonehill miscue. Sinagra led off the game by reaching base on an error and advancing to second before Lee drove her home with an RBI single to give Molloy a 1-0 lead. After a single by White, Botte cleared the bases with a three-run shot that put the Lions ahead 4-0. Three batters later, Clinton singled home Molloy's fifth run of the game, and in the process ended Ropiak's outing. Carbone entered the contest and loaded the bases before working out of the jam with a strikeout and a fly out.

Sophomore Alison Sumski went 2-for-5 with two RBI in Stonehill's 7-6 win over Molloy.

Stonehill got one run back in the top of the third on Morrell's two-out RBI double to center field, but Molloy answered in the bottom half of the inning with a run on another Stonehill error.

Neither team scored in the fourth or fifth innings, but Stonehill began to chip away at its five-run deficit with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. After Ruonavaara walked and Squeri doubled to put runners on second and third, Padilla drew another walk to load the bases, still with nobody out in the inning. Hawks retired the next two Skyhawks, but Sumski delivered a two-out RBI single and Morrell followed with another RBI single, as Stonehill cut Molloy's lead to 6-3.

Down to its last at-bat and facing a three-run deficit, Stonehill put together another rally in the seventh inning. McKillop flied out to lead off the frame, but Ruonavaara drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch before being pinch run for by Lester. Squeri singled to put runners on first and third with one out, and sophomore Katherine Melanson (Danvers, Mass./Bishop Fenwick) reached on a throwing error, scoring Lester from third. After Ropiak fouled out for the second out of the inning, Gunter and Sumski recorded back-to-back RBI singles to tie the score at 6-6. Morrell then walked to load the bases for Staudle, who delivered the game-winning RBI on a hit by pitch following a 23-pitch at-bat.

Squeri allowed one runner to reach base in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out error, before inducing a ground out to end the game.

Stonehill (5-7, 0-0 NE-10) will return home for its Northeast-10 opener this Wednesday at Bentley University. The Skyhawks and Falcons will play two games, the first of which is slated to start at 3 p.m. Stonehill will then open its 2014 home slate on Tuesday, March 25th against Bentley at Fr. Gartland Field. Molloy (1-1, 0-0 ECC) will return to action tomorrow with a doubleheader against the University of New Haven.

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