Over the past few games, the softball team has managed to break a program hits record and get past the .500 mark in State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) play by defeating some tough opponents.
The Hawks recently defeated SUNY Plattsburgh, Brooklyn College, SUNY Fredonia and Mount Saint Mary College.
On Friday, April 8, New Paltz split a doubleheader against SUNY Plattsburgh, where New Paltz jumped out to a 7-1 lead after the first two innings of play and held on for an 8-5 win.
In the top of the first, fourth-year pitcher Katie Rutcofsky drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Hawks on the board. During the Hawks’ next at-bat, third-year infielder Nicole DeCosta drove in two more runs with a double down the left-field line.
The Hawks added to their lead in the second inning after second-year third baseman Alexa Mastando came home following an errant throw on a successful double steal. Second-year left fielder Julia Perhacs pushed across another run with a double down the left-field line before DeCosta made it a 7-1 ballgame with a two-run home run to left center two batters later.
New Paltz ended up scoring one more run off an error to finish the first half of the doubleheader. In the second game, Plattsburgh jumped out to a 6-1 lead and ultimately set the tone for the game, as the Hawks were unable to make a comeback in an 11-6 loss.
Five days later, the Hawks went up against Brooklyn College, where the Hawks hit a program record of 26 hits and third-year center fielder Fallon Spriggs hitting for the cycle. Spriggs went 5-for-5 at the plate with four RBIs, three runs scored, a double, a triple and a home run as the Hawks beat the former record of 23 hits set in 1998.
Every Hawk starter registered a hit in the game, and every New Paltz student-athlete that stepped up to the plate scored at least once. Beyond Spriggs’ notable performance, fourth-year catcher Jordan Fiore had a career day, going 4-for-4 with six RBI,s three runs scored and three doubles. Fiore becomes just the third person in program history to hit three doubles in a game, matching the program record.
Despite the second game of the doubleheader being cancelled, DeCosta said she was pleased with the team’s performance and expressed her gratitude toward the record performance.
“I think we did exactly what we were supposed to in this game,” she said. “We hit and played very well defensively. Granted they were not the best matchup talent wise, I still think it was a good experience for some to rebuild some confidence and then take us into a big weekend against [SUNY] Fredonia and Buffalo State. It’s pretty cool to hear that we broke the hits record. This team I believe is one of the best teams in New Paltz softball history, so it’s good to see some things happening even if it is in a game like Brooklyn.”
The Hawks took their momentum into their doubleheader matchup against SUNY Fredonia on Friday, April 15.
Rutcofsky pitched both games of the doubleheader at home, only allowing a total of one earned run as the Hawks swept the Blue Devils by scores of 2-0 and 6-2.
The first game saw all of its scoring come in the second inning as second-year right fielder Danielle Bruno laced a two-out single down the third-base line, allowing Rutcofsky to score. Bruno reached third following a passed ball and a throwing error, and an error during the next at-bat allowed her to score to push the margin to 2-0.
In the second game, Fredonia jumped to a 1-0 lead, but New Paltz quickly answered and never looked back as Fiore, DeCosta, Rutcofsky, first-year second baseman Shannon Fee and first-year shortstop Taylor LaFrance all scored runs.
The following day, the Hawks extended their win streak to four games in the first game of a doubleheader against Buffalo State.
The sixth inning was huge for the Hawks as Perhacs led off the inning with a double to left center before advancing to third on a wild pitch. Rutcofsky then singled up the middle to drive in Perhacs before DeCosta moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Rutcofsky ended up on third following a fielder’s choice during the next at-bat, and she came across on a fielder’s choice the very next play to put New Paltz on top, 3-2. The Hawks ended the game with a double play to the third baseman in the top of the seventh, which sealed the win.
In the second game of the day, Buffalo State’s bats came alive, as they scored six runs off of 10 hits to split the series. DeCosta said the team had a very accomplishing weekend despite the loss in the final game against the Bengals.
“Going into the weekend against Fredonia and Buffalo, we knew we had to at least take three games and we did that, so that was a positive on the weekend,” DeCosta said. “I think we learned a lot and also realized what we need to work on as SUNYAC play continues. Moving forward, we hope to carry that momentum through the remainder of our games and continue to keep the ball rolling and winning more games.”
After two postponements, the Hawks finally went up against SUNY Oneonta in a doubleheader on Tuesday, April 19. Although New Paltz could not win either of the games, there were some notable performances by the players.
Rutcofsky and DeCosta each drove in a run in the first game to tie the game at 2 all. It wasn’t until second-year right fielder Cori McFall hit a go-ahead double in the seventh to give the Red Dragons the 3-2 win.
In game two, the game was called after five innings after the Red Dragons scored eight unanswered runs, with six of them coming off a pair of home runs.
DeCosta looks for the Hawks to learn from their mistakes in their next conference matchups against The College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo.
“I don’t think we necessarily played our best softball against Oneonta,” DeCosta said. “However, it is a learning experience and something we can move forward with. Knowing that we can’t give runs away to other teams and that we need to put the ball in play a little bit more, I think we can build off of this and move forward when we take on Geneseo and Brockport this weekend, where we can hopefully sweep both teams.”
The Hawks split a doubleheader with Mount Saint Mary College on Wednesday, April 20.
With an overall record of 13-12 and 4-4 conference tally, New Paltz will next participate in doubleheaders against The College at Brockport and SUNY Geneseo on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 where they can improve their fifth-place standing and make a potential playoff run as the season’s end nears.