Coming off the heels of their appearance in the University of Maryland Tournament, the Fairfield University softball team took on crosstown rival Sacred Heart University as well as commencing their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season campaign against Iona University this past week. The Stags made the short trek across town this past Wednesday, March 20 to take on the Pioneers.

After a scoreless first inning, Sacred Heart made some noise at the bottom of the second, scoring runs off of a walk and a two-run single to give them a 3-0 advantage. The score remained unchanged heading into the top of the fourth, as Fairfield scored their first run of the inning thanks to a triple from right fielder and graduate student Megan Forbes, sending home catcher Allie Bridgman ‘24 to make it 3-1. On the next at-bat, Forbes was able to complete her lap of the bases thanks to a single from first and third baseman Cara Kochakian ‘26 to make it 3-2. Sacred Heart increased their lead to two at the bottom of the fourth.

Fairfield tied the game at the top of the sixth, Kochakian started the process by taking a walk. She then advanced to third by means of an error and a sacrifice bunt. She then crossed home plate thanks to a wild pitch, bringing the game within one run. Center fielder Charli Warren ‘25 then singled to left field, bringing home pinch runner Darby Weller ‘27 to tie the game at four runs apiece. Weller subbed in for designated hitter Delaney Whieldon ‘26, who ran the bases until she reached third thanks to the error, bunt, and wild pitch that occurred earlier in the frame.

After falling behind, Sacred Heart responded by regaining their two-run lead, giving them a 6-4 advantage. Fairfield then entered the top of the seventh seeking to tie the game. The team was given some hope thanks to a smash from Bridgman that landed over the left-center field fence to bring the margin to one. The solo shot was the fourth long ball of the year for the East Windsor, N.J. native. That was all the Stags could do that inning unfortunately, as Sacred Heart defeated the Stags in the final “Battle of Fairfield” as non-conference foes, as the Pioneers will become conference foes starting on July 1, when they officially become full-time MAAC members.

After the rough loss, the Stags took the short bus ride back to campus and kicked off their MAAC regular season schedule against Iona. The first two games of the three-game series took place on Friday, March 22 in a doubleheader. Game one saw the Stags endure a difficult start, as the Gaels took a commanding 7-0 lead after the first two and a half innings of play. Fairfield managed to start barking at the bottom of the third, as Warren and second baseman Morgan Sylvestre ‘25 hit back-to-back singles, putting Bridgman in a comfortable position. The catcher delivered, sending Warren home to make it 7-1. Sylvestre then scored off of a fielder’s choice to lessen the gap to a five-run margin.

The Stags added another run at the bottom of the fourth, as Warren singled to left to bring home left fielder Danica Silvestri ‘27 to make it 7-3. Fairfield did not score again for a short period, as Iona gained two more runs in the preceding three innings, extending their lead to 9-3. Kochakian did single to left to bring home Sylvestre at the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-4, but it was not enough, as Iona took the first game of the doubleheader.

Play resumed immediately after with the second game of the doubleheader. Things looked the same early on, as Iona scored off of a single at the top of the second to give themselves a 1-0 lead, but Fairfield soon responded in kind. They knotted the tie at one at the bottom of the second thanks to a solo blast off of the bat of Forbes for her first home run of the season. The top of the third was scoreless thanks in strong part to the efforts of Chela Kovar ‘27, who put together a one-two-three inning that consisted of a strikeout.

The momentum kept swinging in the Stags’ favor at the bottom of the third, as a triple off the bat of Warren got things going. A Sylvestre fly-out to second brought home the leadoff Warren to put the Stags in the driver’s seat for the first time this series with a 2-1 lead. They then pushed that lead to 3-1 off a single from third baseman Anna Paravati ‘26, who brought home the designated hitter Bridgman after the latter hit a double in the prior at-bat. Two more shutout innings from Kovar followed, only giving up a combined two walks in the process.

After Iona narrowed the gap by scoring a run to make it 3-2, the Stags capitalized on their lead by securing two more runs of their own. Singles from Forbes and Kochakian put Silvestri in a solid position. She executed, sending home Forbes while moving Kochakian to third off a single through the left side to make it 4-2. In the next at-bat, a single off the bat from Warren followed to make it 5-2. The score remained unchanged the rest of the way, as the Stags took home the win, with Kovar pitching a complete game with five strikeouts and two earned runs in the process.

The Stags were not as lucky in the last game of the doubleheader, as they fell short, 3-0. Bridgman and Kovar did manage to only give up three earned runs and accumulate three strikeouts, but it was not enough. The Stags will next play at Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday, March 26. For more information on the Fairfield University softball team, please visit

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