By Michael Otero
Co-Editor in Chief
After dismantling Southern New Hampshire University last week, the Pioneers landed the no. 22 spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Top-25 Poll. After earning the ranking, the Pioneers backed it up; taking two games on their home field from Molloy College on Thursday, April 14.
In the first matchup, junior pitcher Ashley Martin set the tone, tossing a complete-game shutout, (her second in as many starts), and striking out three in the process.
Although Martin was shutting down the Lions offense, the Pioneer offense struggled as well. Through the first six innings, the game was deadlocked at zero. In the bottom of the seventh inning however, the Pioneers came alive. After a lead-off double by junior middle infielder Kayla McCoy, freshman catcher Julia Seader was the hero; providing the walk-off single and delivering a Pioneer win.
The nightcap saw more of the same from the Pioneers, as they continued their stellar play. Powered by freshman pitcher Hannah Olshevski, who threw seven innings and allowed zero earned runs, the Pioneers won by a score of 3-2.
With the score evened up at one in the fifth, Seader put the Pioneers up with an RBI double. Up 2-1, senior first baseman Paige Swantek added to the lead with a run scoring out.
Up by two runs in the final inning, the Pioneers made things a little uneasy for the LIU faithful in attendance. After the Lions cut the deficit in half with a run scoring single, they put the tying run on base. However, Olshevski beared down and got the last two batters out to end the threat and the game.
The Pioneers welcomed Queens College to Brookville, N.Y. on
Saturday, April 16, and, like the Lions, the Knights didn’t fare well. The Pioneers won both games handily.
In game one, the Pioneer bats did the talking, knocking in 10 runs; eight of which came in the third inning. After a misplay in the field, the Pioneers strung together hit after hit in the third inning and Seader capped it off with a two-RBI double, making the score 9-0 after 18 outs.
Martin was back in the circle for the Pioneers and she earned the win; her twelfth of the season. She went seven innings, scattered 10 baserunners and fanned seven Knights. The cherry on top for the Pioneers was a solo blast by Seader in the sixth inning making it 10-3; all but sealing a Green and Gold victory.
After a short break, the two sides met again and the Knights were ousted by the Pioneers once again. Thanks to five unanswered runs in the middle innings, the Pioneers earned their sixth win in as many games.
What else is new? Olshevski was dominant again; tossing all seven innings and allowing one run while striking out a trio of Knights. The offense was led by senior infielder Maria Palmeri, who had two RBIs for the game, and Seader, who drove in a run and also came around to score on a fielders’ choice.
The Pioneers will look to continue their hot streak when they visit NYIT on Wednesday, April 20. The Jamie Apicella led squad will hit the field for first pitch which is scheduled for 3 p.m.