By Michael Otero
Queens College reigned over the softball team in their first matchup on Wednesday, March 30. A combined three runs in the opening two frames proved to be enough run support for ToniMarie Valeriano, who tossed seven innings of two run ball and struck out nine Pioneers in front of her home crowd.
The Pioneers only run scoring play came in the second inning when junior infielder Kayla McCoy cracked a two-out two-run single. After that connection, the Pioneers bats went silent and the Knights from Queens College strung together hits and made the most of their four base knocks and won the contest 3-2.
In the second game, the Pioneers were paced by freshman pitcher Hannah Olshevski who continued to dominate; fanning four and surrendering just two hits in a complete game shutout victory.
Senior infielder Maria Palmeri was the offense for the Pioneers; driving in the two runs on doubles in consecutive plate appearances. The Pioneers, backed by Olshevski and Palmeri, won by a score of 2-0.
The Pioneers returned home on Thursday, March 31, and welcomed Southern Connecticut State University to Brookville, N.Y. Powered by junior pitcher Ashley Martin, the Pioneers toyed with the Owls, winning 6-0.
Martin went the distance, allowing zero runs and striking out nine. The Owls barely threatened to score against her; managing a measly two hits. Their best opportunity to score was shut down when Martin stranded two baserunners in the fourth inning.
At the dish, the Pioneers grabbed the lead when senior designated hitter Paige Swantek belted a solo home run. In the third inning, the Pioneers extended their lead to 5-0. The big hit came from freshman infielder Ashley Melendez who came through with a two-RBI double.
In the nightcap, the Pioneers were looking at a 3-1 deficit in their final turn at bat. Their response: a two run seventh inning to tie the game and send it into extras.
After the first two batters reached base safely to start the inning, Palmeri laced an RBI single to cut the hole to 3-2. After that, Swantek plated the tying run on an RBI groundout.
After the Pioneers stranded the potential game winning runs in both the seventh and eighth innings, they came through in the ninth inning. After a Palmeri lead-off single, Swantek moved her to second with a sacrifice bunt. With the winning run in scoring position, McCoy lined a base hit and plated the game-winning run for the walk-off win.
The Pioneers 4-3 victory was another win for Olshevksi who tossed nine innings of three run ball and fanned two. The win is her sixth in a row and her tenth of the season.
The Pioneers Saturday, April 2, double-header against NYIT was postponed due to poor weather conditions. That set of games will now be played on Tuesday, April 12. The weather again did not cooperate on Sunday, April 3, and the Pioneers twin bill against Molloy College had to be rescheduled as well. That matchup is set for Thursday, April 14. The Pioneers originally scheduled opponents for those dates, University of New Haven and Caldwell University, have been cancelled.
Assuming the weather cooperates, the Pioneers will return to the field on Thursday, April 7, for a pair of games against Dominican College from the LIU Post Softball Complex. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.