Having lost six-out-of its last eight non-conference games, the softball team is eager to begin its MAAC season this weekend.

The Stags have struggled offensively so far this season and have been averaging just over two runs per game over the last eight games, dropping their record to 15-20 overall this year.

“We’ve been losing some really close games, it’s been so frustrating. Everyone has been putting their hearts on the line, we just haven’t been able to score,” said junior pitcher Christy Urban. “We have so much more potential than we’ve been showing. We have a lot of team chemistry and I think it’s going to start to show once our MAAC season begins.”

Fairfield opens its conference schedule this weekend with away double-headers against Manhattan on Friday and St. Peter’s on Saturday.

“We look at it as a new season. We haven’t hit our peak yet, but we hope to do so once MAAC play begins,” said head coach Julie Brzezinski. “We hope to get off to a good start in the conference. Any team can beat anybody in the league, it just comes down to each team’s intensity on that day.”

St. Peter’s has been picked as the preseason favorite to repeat as MAAC Champions, according to conference coaches, following the Peahens’ 39-win season last year. The Stags have been picked to place third behind the Peahens and Canisius.

“We’re looking forward and are excited for the MAAC season,” said senior catcher Katie Caputi. “We know this is the time we have to focus and start playing our best.”

After finishing with a program-best 36 wins last year, Fairfield hopes this weekend’s double-headers will incite the team to turn the season around during the Stags’ second-half schedule

“The games against St. Peter’s are going to be big. All eyes are going to be on those two games,” Urban said. “We should definitely be able to handle Manhattan.”

The Stags’ pitching, which hasn’t received much run-support this season, has been a bright spot for the team led by junior Melissa Santos. After setting a school record with 22 wins last year, Santos has gotten off to a 12-6 start so far this year with an incredible 1.09 ERA.

Santos pitched both games of the Stags’ double-header against Stony Brook on Tuesday. Santos struck out 27 batters in 15 innings on the mound in Fairfield’s split of the two game series.

Santos is one of three Fairfield players that were named to the All-MAAC Preseason Team, along with senior second baseman Karyn Kennedy and junior outfielder Ellen Sarosy.

Sarosy leads the team with a .369 batting average and in hits with 41 while Kennedy has a team-high three homeruns and 14 RBI.

The Stags, however, have struggled mightily to put together a balanced offensive attack and produce timely clutch hits this season, but look to reverse their fortunes starting this weekend.

“We’re hoping to come away with a sweep this weekend. We want to definitely come out and give them a good run,” Caputi said. “Our goal this year is to win the MAAC- we know that’s something we can definitely do.”

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