SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The Iona College softball program dominated day two of the Seton Hall Pirates Invite with a pair of wins over Brown and Hartford. Junior Jessica Harkness and sophomore Alana Evans were both effective in the circle while the heart of the Maroon & Gold batting order crushed the competition.
GAME ONE: Iona 4, Brown 3
Harkness threw a complete game, two earned run, five hit outing to help Iona end its seven game losing streak.
The offensive punch was delivered by freshman Jasmine Temple who had a team-high three hits. Sophomore right fielder Marisa Gergel, senior first basemen Kristen Turner, and junior catcher Tori Danner each had two hits; combined this trio went 6-for-10 with two extra base hits and one RBI.
The Gaels threatened in the first inning with two hits, but Gergel was gunned down at the plate to end the inning when trying to score on Danner’s double to right field. The bats swelled again in the second inning when Iona had the bases loaded with one out, but two fielder’s choice ground outs prevented any runs from crossing the plate.
Brown got itself on the scoreboard first in the fourth inning. Freshman Kaitlin Okimoto led off the inning with a double. With two outs, sophomore Cat Seitz knocked a two-bagger to left field to drive in Okimoto for the game’s first run. Junior Annie McGregor then hit a single and Seitz was able to score on a throwing error.
As an answer, the Maroon & Gold broke through in the fifth inning. Danner singled to left field to tally sophomore pinch runner Samantha Mello. Senior shortstop Katie Newton singled to load the bases with one out. Sophomore third basemen Kimberly Chiapparelli drove in the tying run when she was hit by a pitch. Temple followed it up by driving in the Gaels’ leading score at the time with a single to second base. Sophomore second basemen Hailey Thompson grounded to the pitcher, but an error by the Bears allowed a fourth run to score.
The Bears made a valiant comeback in their final at-bat. Three different batters walked and Brown found itself with the bases loaded with one out. Harkness induced a force out at home plate to earn the second out, and after walking home a run, she was able to get sophomore Sofia Venegas to ground out and end the game.
GAME 2: Iona 12, Hartford 2
Iona jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first with Turner’s fourth homerun of the season. She drove in senior Ashlyn Morris who led the game off reaching base on an error.
Hartford quickly replied in the bottom of the frame with two runs to tie the game. Evans started the game for the Maroon & Gold and struggled with command early on. She threw two consecutive wild pitches that pushed sophomore Kylie Dazalla across the plate and laid senior Danielle DeMarco at third base for senior Lexi Wilkerson’s RBI single.
The Gaels retook the lead in the third inning when Turner earned her third RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to push Morris across the plate. Gergel and Turner teamed up again in the fourth inning to give the Maroon & Gold a 5-2 lead. 2016 All-Rookie Team Selection Marisa Gergel doubled down the line to score sophomore pitcher Alana Evans, and three time All-MAAC First Team selection then earned her fourth RBI of the day with her second sacrifice fly.
Thompson garnered her first hit of the game in the fifth inning to bring home Chiapparelli and give the Gaels a four run edge. As the lineup flipped, Morris knocked on through the right side to bring home Evans.
The offensive tirade continued into the sixth, beginning with Temple adding onto her productive first game against Brown with an RBI double to left center. From there the Maroon & Gold tacked on three more runs thru RBI from Morris, Gergel and Turner.
Iona finished the game with 13 hits, all but one of which came after the third innings. Morris finished the game with a team-high three hits. Turner had five RBI with her one round-tripper and two sacrifice fly.
Evans threw six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks. She faced 23 batters and struck out 10.
Iona continues its non-conference play on Wednesday, Mar. 22 at Fordham. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM.