NEW ROCHELLE, NY - The Iona College softball team returned to action Tuesday afternoon in a non-conference doubleheader with Sacred Heart. The Gaels and Pioneers split the two games on the day, with Sacred Heart taking a close 4-3 decision in game one before the Gaels used early offense to pick up a 9-1 win in game two.
In game one, the squads exchanged zeros on the scoreboard until the Pioneers struck for four runs in the top of the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles by Justine Sibthorp and Nikki Surkes put two on before Alexa Garza reached on an Iona error. Nicole Sidor, Sacred Heart's game one starter, helped her own cause with a bases clearing double to put the Pioneers up 3-0. After a single by Jade Bowins put runners on the corners, Annie Dreher single to center field to push the fourth Sacred Heart run of the inning across.
Iona got its first run in the sixth inning when senior Alyssa Maiese drove in junior Jodi Petersen with a single to right center. In the seventh, Iona looked to rally late. Freshman Brianna Schauer reached first on a dropped third strike with one out. With two outs, freshman Allison Hand delivered a pinch hit single to put two runners on. Petersen singled up the middle to drive in pinch runner Cari Anderson before senior Deanne Algeo drove in Hand with a single to left. That would be as close as the Gaels would get as Sidor induced a game ending foul out to the catcher to squash the Iona comeback.
Sidor improved to 12-9 on the year with the win, allowing eight hits and three runs while striking out 13. Senior Sarah Jackson, now 9-7 on the year, struck out the first seven batters to face her before allowing a hit in the third inning. Overall, she went four innings, allowing three earned runs and seven hits while striking out nine. Freshman Carly Argyle pitched three innings of scoreless relief for the Gaels.
In game two, the Gaels got off to a great start, pushing across six runs in the first frame. Petersen led off the inning with a single and stole both second and third. With one out, Algeo drove in Petersen with a single to right field before Maiese followed with her fifth home run of the season to right field. Junior Eileen McCann, Schauer and Argyle each recorded three singles in a row to load the bases for senior Allyssa James. James would reached on an error to drive in a run before junior Beth Kann singled home two runs on a hit that stuck past the Sacred Heart middle infield, plating Schauer and Argyle with the fifth and sixth runs of the inning.
Maiese continued her strong day in the third inning when she drove in Kann and Petersen with a bases loaded double. Algeo was thrown out attempting to score a third run on the play. In the fourth, Iona wrapped up its scoring for the day when McCann led off the frame with a home run to left center field. Sacred Heart would plate a run in the fifth on an RBI single by Sidor, but it not enough as the Gaels picked up the win in five innings.
Maiese struck out 10 batters in five innings, moving her record to 8-6 on the season. Kacie Wentworth allowed six runs, five earned, in one inning of work, falling to 1-9 on the season. Iona is right back in action Wednesday, when they host Fairleigh Dickinson in a non-conference doubleheader, beginning at 2:30 pm.