Fairfield softball pitcher, Mellissa Santos’ trademark sunglasses haven’t distorted her vision of the strike zone over the past three seasons. Instead, perhaps they have aided in her prosperity on the Fairfield diamond.

Santos had been consistently ranked among the nation’s top ten softball pitchers during both her sophomore and junior years. Santos, a senior on the women’s softball team, earned MAAC Pitcher of the Year for the 2002 season and co-MAAC Pitcher of the Year in 2001.

Santos, 7-5 this season, has an E.R.A. of 1.24 and has struck out over 100 batters. She has surpassed a milestone this week against Princeton where she collected her 1,003rd career strikeout. Only 15 Division I pitchers have struck out more batters.

According to Santos, reaching her strikeout goal was exciting, but it would have been more fitting to reach the feat in a game the Stags won.

“It’s definitely more important that the team wins right now,” Santos said after they were swept by Princeton Tuesday night.

In addition to her overall strikeouts, Santos has earned MAAC Pitcher of the Week. She is currently averaging 8.8 strikeouts per game. Her season high was 14 against St. Francis earlier this season.

The Pepperell, Mass., native, will share her pitching responsibilities this season with Christy Urban, ’03 and Tara Hansen, ’06. Santos is happy to see a freshman see some action this season and gain experience.

“She is the future of the pitching staff,” Santos said.

While Santos continues to thrive this season, her team has not had the same amount of success. The Stags stand at 13-15 and have 28 games left in the regular season and more importantly, the start to interleague competitions.

On Tuesday, the Stags were swept in a pair of games by Princeton. The Tigers won the first game 6-5 and followed up with a 4-3 win in the second game.

Dana Fasano led Fairfield’s scoring attack in both games with two hits in each of the games. Megan Miller, Shannon Logan also added doubles in the first game.

Along with Santos, outfielder Ellen Sarosy, ’03, was also recognized by the MAAC after her performances last week. Sarosy posted a .376 batting average and a .430 on-base percentage in Fairfield’s games last week.

Sarosy also became the Stags’ all-time leader in hits, breaking Theresa O’Connor’s record of 191 hits when she was in a Fairfield uniform between ’97-’00.

The Stags open their MAAC season this weekend at Marist on Saturday for two games, followed by a doubleheader at Siena on Sunday.

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