NEW HARTFORD, NY – The SUNYIT softball team dropped two hard-fought contests to the visiting Keuka College Storm during a conference doubleheader Friday, falling 8-6 in game one and 6-3 in game two. The Lady Wildcats' only losses in the NEAC North have now come to Keuka, as they fell to 12-4 in conference play and 17-10 overall. Keuka remained undefeated in the conference at 14-0 and improved to 14-2 overall.
Due to the on-campus construction of SUNYIT's $20 million field house, as well as renovations to the current Wildcat Softball Field, the contest was held at Waszkiewicz Field in New Hartford, NY.
The Wildcats, who are currently ranked first in the nation in batting average and second in both slugging percentage and scoring, were able to put 10 hits and eight runs on the board in game one but could not slow down Keuka's offense in the process. The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning after drawing two bases-loaded walks that brought home two runs. Keuka quickly answered with a two-run home run by Brooke Lovell in the second to tie the game and added a run in both the fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-2 lead, but a ground out RBI by senior Amanda Myers (Boonville, NY/Adirondack) and a solo home run by sophomore Lauren Marleau (Prospect, NY/Holland Patent) tied the game at four after five innings of play.
The Wildcats would unravel in the top of the sixth, committing two errors that Keuka turned into three runs and put the Storm up 7-4. SUNYIT kept fighting, however, scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff home run by junior Bianca Brown (Utica, NY/Mohawk Valley CC) and on a throwing error later in the inning. However, another Wildcat error in the seventh granted Keuka another run and dug a deeper hole for SUNYIT, with the Storm closing out the game in the bottom of the inning to secure the win.
Marleau finished 2-for-3 with a double and one run scored, while sophomore Lyndsey Brognano (Rome, NY/Rome Free Academy) went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Senior Meaghan McGurn (Slingerlands, NY/Hudson Valley CC) had six strikeouts in the loss.
Lovell finished 2-for-3 for Keuka, while Elly Disbrow hit a home run. Allison Richter had nine strikeouts on the mound to record the victory.
SUNYIT banged out another 10 hits in game two, but stranded 11 runners on base to only produce three runs. The Wildcats again struck first with two runs in the third inning and were able to keep Keuka off the scoreboard early on thanks to two spectacular catches by junior center fielder Kwanisha Jones (San Antonio, TX/Indian River), who robbed a home run with a grab at the fence in the first and then made an incredible diving catch in the top of the third to keep the bases empty. However, Keuka would quickly tie the game at 2 all with leadoff home runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.
The game would remain tied into the seventh, where Keuka would explode for four runs on a two-run double by Sarah Fredericks and a two-run single by Terin Brown to take a commanding 6-2 lead. SUNYIT was able to put a run on the board on a RBI single by junior Amanda Pratt (Rochester, NY/Rush-Henrietta) in the bottom of the inning, but it wasn't enough as freshman pitcher Danielle Gravel closed out the inning for Keuka to give them the win and the sweep.
Junior Juleah Vedder (Dolgeville, NY/Dolgeville) finished 3-for-4 at the plate and had nine strikeouts while on the mound for SUNYIT, while Pratt drove in two runs and had a stolen base. Marleau went 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
Morgan Engelbert and Brittany Smyder each hit a home run for Keuka, while Brown and Fredricks each had two hits and drove in two runs.
The Wildcats will look to rebound tomorrow when they travel to take on Cazenovia College for a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm.