Softball Splits With Saginaw Valley And Northern State

Senior Lauren Esposito finished 4-for-7 with a double, two runs and a RBI ni today's doubleheader.

Ruonavaara pitches complete game shutout in game two win over Northern State

CLERMONT, Fla. (March 9, 2016) – The Stonehill College softball team split a pair of contests today as part of the Dot Richardson Spring Games in non-conference action at the National Training Center. Stonehill fell to Saginaw Valley State University, 4-2, but responded with a 4-0 win over Northern State University later in the day.

Senior third baseman Katherine Melanson (Danvers, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) led the Skyhawks offensively, breaking out for two homeruns and finishing 3-for-6 with two runs and four RBI. Senior outfielder Lauren Esposito (Middlefield, Connecticut/Coginchaug) also had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-7 with a double, two runs, and a RBI. Junior third baseman Jacklyn Oleksak (Massapequa, New York/Plainedge) chipped in with three hits, including two doubles and a run.

Senior Megan Ruonavaara (Rocky Hill, Connecticut/Rocky Hill) pitched a three-hit complete game shutout in Stonehill's 4-0 win over Northern State, pitching seven innings and striking out six while walking none. Senior Sarah Ropiak (Acton, Massachusetts/Acton-Boxborough) pitched game one against Saginaw Valley, going 5.1 innings and giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits with three strikeouts.


Saginaw Valley 4, Stonehill 2

Stonehill dropped a tightly contested first game to Saginaw Valley that saw the Skyhawks leave nine runners stranded on base. The Skyhawks pieced together seven hits with a walk but were unable to capitalize on scoring opportunities.

Stonehill opened the game poised to strike first as Esposito singled down the third base line to lead the top of the first inning off. Senior Megan Staudle (New Windsor, New York/Cornwall Central) followed up with a single of her own but Esposito was caught trying to go from first to third. Junior Michelle Carbone (Deer Park, New York/St. Anthony's) reached on a fielder's choice but was the last Stonehill baserunner of the inning as the Skyhawks couldn't piece a run together.

Saginaw Valley scored the game's first run in the bottom of the first, as sophomore Madison Burgess (Commerce, Michigan/Lakeland) reached base on an error and then stole second and third base. Ropiak got through the next two hitters but surrendered a single to senior Shelby Weeks (Warren, Michigan/Woods Tower), driving in Burgess for an unearned run. The Cardinals put another run on the board in the third on a RBI double by sophomore Meredith Rousse (Bay City, Michigan/Bay City Western).

Stonehill cut into the Cardinals lead in the fifth when Oleksak singled up the middle to put the leadoff hitter on base. Sophomore Olivia Peterson (Westford, Massachusetts/Westford Academy) came on to pinch run for Oleksak and was driven in on a two out double by Esposito. Staudle then reached base on a fielder's choice to put runners at the corner, but that's as far as they would get as the rally was halted by a groundout.

The Skyhawks once again put their leadoff hitter in scoring position with no outs in the sixth, as Sumski reached base and moved to second on a throwing error by the third baseman. Cardinal senior pitcher Sarah Vrabel (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) was able to navigate through the inning without any further damage, keeping the lead intact for the home team. Weeks hit a back breaking two run homerun for Saginaw Valley in the bottom of the sixth, all but sealing up the win for the Cardinals.

Senior Megan Ruonavaara threw a complete game shutout in Stonehill's win today.

Stonehill wasn't done, however, as Melanson hit a solo shot with one out in the final inning. Esposito then reached base on an error, advanced to second when Staudle was hit by a pitch and moved to third to load the bases as Carbone walked. Down two runs, the Skyhawks had the bases loaded and one out, but went down in order, ending the game in frustrating fashion.


Stonehill 4, Northern State 0

Stonehill bounced back in game two behind a complete game shutout by senior Megan Ruonavaara. Junior Missy Elkins (North Mankato, Minnesota/Mankato West) also went the distance for Northern State, allowing four runs on nine hits, one walk and one strikeout.

The Skyhawks started where they left off, as Esposito walked to lead off the inning, followed by a Carbone single. With two runners on, Sumski singled to right center field driving in Esposito for the game's first run. The Skyhawks kept rolling in the second as Oleksak doubled to deep left and junior Taylor Lester (East Northport, New York/St. Anthony's) singled to move Oleksak to third. Melanson then stepped to the plate and jacked her second homerun of the day, pushing three runs across the plate. Neither team could get much going after the second, as both teams combined for four hits the rest of the way. Ruonavaara mowed down the Wolves in the seventh to complete her shutout and give the senior her first win of the season.

Stonehill is back in action on Friday morning as the Skyhawks take on Caldwell University and the University of Bridgeport.  The first game is scheduled for 9 a.m. while the second game is tentatively set for 11 a.m.   

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