Fairfield softball kicked off their season in Greenville, N.C. last weekend as part of the Pirate Clash. Despite several hard fought efforts against teams with game experience already under their belts, the Stags ultimately came up winless in their five contests across the three-day event. 

The first game of the trip came against Marshall on Friday morning. Led from the mound by Allie Bridgman ‘24, the Stags surrendered just two hits and a single run through the first four innings of play. Outfielder Quinn McGonigle ‘26 launched a solo home run in the top of the fifth to knot the score at 1-1, before the Thundering Herd responded with a run of their own that same inning to take a 2-1 lead. 

 After the Stags came up empty in the top of the sixth, Marshall finally got a pulse on Bridgman’s pitching, using a quartet of sixth inning hits to drive in five runs and take a 7-1 advantage that would remain unchanged through the final inning of play.

The Stags then regrouped that afternoon to challenge the host East Carolina Pirates, who entered the contest undefeated through their first seven games. It was yet another largely stingy defensive effort for Fairfield, spearheaded by pitcher Alyssa Weinberg ‘26 who posted eight strikeouts as part of a four-hit shutout through regulation.

The Stags broke the 0-0 stalemate in the first inning of extra play, as graduate student Megan Forbes hit a ground ball to shortstop that drove in a runner from third base. However, the Pirates finally had an answer of their own in the bottom of the inning, scoring the first run off a sacrifice fly before connecting on a game-winning RBI double for a 2-1 victory.

“I like the way we came out with controlled energy today,” head coach Julie Brzezinski said after the opening day games. “We received two really strong pitching performances today. [Bridgman] kept Marshall off balance for five innings and really competed. [Weinberg] was awesome against a big hitting team in East Carolina by striking out eight batters and setting the tone for our defense.”

Saturday afternoon kicked off another doubleheader for the Stags, beginning with the rematch against East Carolina. After another strong start with Bridgman returning to the mound, the Pirates broke the game open in the bottom of the third inning, taking a 3-0 lead off the back of an RBI single and a two-run homer. 

The host team then followed that up with a five run performance in the bottom of the fourth, bolstered by a three-run home run by infielder Morgan Johnson. After the Stags were unable to answer in the top of the fifth, the game was called due to the eight run deficit.

Despite not being able to drive in a run, the Stags were led from the plate by infielder Anna Paravati ‘26, who registered a hit in both plate appearances.

Later that day, the Stags took on their third different team of the Pirate Clash in Longwood University. For Fairfield, it was a similar story to their previous match, as the Lancers used a three-run second inning to open up a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished for the remainder of the contest.

As the Stags continued to struggle to drive runs in, picking up just three hits for the game, the Lancers widened their lead with a two-run third inning, before a three-run shot in the fifth brought the score to 8-0, once again enacting the mercy rule.

In their final game of the weekend, the Stags returned to the diamond Sunday morning for one more crack at a victory, this time in a rematch of their day one loss to Marshall. The Thundering Herd got out to a fast start, driving in four runs in the top of the first to set the tone.

However, the Stags responded quickly, as Bridgman hit one over the fence in the same inning to put two runs on the board and keep the team within striking distance.

The score remained the same until a fourth inning explosion for Marshall, who used five base hits from five different players to drive in seven runs. After a scoreless response from the Stags, the game was called in five innings with a final score of 11-2. 

Though they weren’t able to pick up a win, the Stags will have plenty to build off of and improve upon as they gear up for the season ahead.

The team now will have a week off before heading south for the University of Delaware Invitational on March 1-3.   

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-- Sophomore | Assistant Sports Editor | Sports Media Major | Digital Journalism Minor --

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