The Fairfield University Softball squad took the field over the weekend to face off against Siena College and Rider University, two central Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foes, as the Stags aimed to improve their conference record. After a split last weekend and a loss to University of Hartford, the Stags needed a winning weekend in the best way possible.
Starter Destinee Pallotto ‘18 took the mound, looking to start Fairfield off right so momentum would be on their side. She threw a complete game while allowing 10 hits, three earned runs and striking out six batters. This performance earned Pallotto her eleventh win of the season and Fairfield answered offensively to the Rider Broncs early lead.
In the third inning, Elyse Cuttic ‘20 struck first with a double that plated two runs off of Pallotto. However, in the bottom half of the inning, the Stags scored three unearned runs to take a 3-2 lead for the first time in the game. After two RBI hits by Mikayla Rubin ‘21 and Kate Robinson ‘18, Fairfield’s lead swelled to 5-2 as they held on for the victory.
The Stags were treated to a great pitching performance by Lauryn Rhinehart ‘21, who also tossed a complete game in the nightcap of the doubleheader. The first-year threw seven shutout innings, just walked two hitters and did her part in this pitchers duel at Alumni Softball Field. For Rider, Emily Oltman ‘20 matched Rhinehart’s effort almost pitch for pitch, completing six efficient innings and allowing one earned run, despite three other runs being unearned. All three unearned runs came in the sixth inning, which came off a fielder’s choice, a single by Courtney Hankins ‘19 and a throwing error. This 4-1 victory gave the Stags a sweep of the doubleheader against the Broncs on Saturday.
Fairfield geared up for another doubleheader on Sunday, but this time they faced Siena College, looking to have a winning weekend. The Stags broke through first in the second inning with an unearned run against starter Lauren Butts ‘18, but the Saints struck back in the fourth inning as they scored two runs off of Pallotto, who is getting her second start this weekend, to take a 2-1 lead. Madysen Cossack ‘19 provided an insurance run an inning later with an RBI single which proved to be an important run since Siena would hang on by a slim one-run margin.
In the final game of this four-game weekend for the Stags, starter Rhinehart got her second start as well facing the Saints. The first-year pitched into the seventh inning, while she surrendered just two earned runs and walked only one hitter, as Fairfield and Siena struggled to score runs throughout the game.
Being 1-1 in the fifth inning, Loryn DeFalco ‘19 put the Saints ahead with a home run to left field but two innings later Hankins delivered a home run of her own to even the score at 2-2. The momentum shifted to Fairfield as, in the very next inning, this clutch hit sent the game into the eighth. Third baseman Rubin stepped into the box, with Makenna DiGuilio ‘18 at third, hit a sacrifice fly to center field. DiGuilio crossed the plate with the game-winning run and the Stags secured a split from Siena. This was a gritty win from Fairfield to say the least.
As a whole, Fairfield took three out of four from two threatening MAAC opponents, improving their record to 17-24 and 9-5 in the conference. The Stags take on Central Connecticut State University in a doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 at Alumni Softball Field after their 7-4 win against Sacred Heart University on Tuesday for some non-conference action.