WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Holy Cross softball team was swept by Army in its first Patriot League conference series, falling in games three and four of the four-game series on Sunday by scores of 10-4 and 5-3. Sophomore Kelliner Croushore (Claremont, Calif.) went four-for-seven on the afternoon with one run and one RBI and freshman Emma Keough (Rochester, Mass.) blasted her first career home run in game two to cut the Black Knights' lead to two, but it was not enough as Army opened conference play with a record of 4-0.
Holy Cross fell behind 3-0 early as Army sent eight batters to the plate in the bottom half of the first inning versus sophomore pitcher Julia Barrett (Gardner, Mass.), recording three runs on five hits including three doubles and a home run by Alexis AuBuchon. The Crusaders responded in the top half of the second inning when Keough drew a one out walk and advanced to third on a single down the right field line by senior Nicole Ortiz (Whittier, Calif.). Junior Kat Rosenthal (Boston, Mass.) then advanced Ortiz to second and drove in Keough with a ground ball to the short stop. After freshman catcher Abigail Lang (Londonderry, N.H.) walked, sophomore Alex Gustafson (Medford, Mass.) drove a single up the middle but Ortiz was cut down at the plate on a perfect throw by center fielder Reanna Johnson to the catcher Rachel Duval to end the inning with Holy Cross trailing 3-1.
The Crusaders went to the bullpen prior to the start of the bottom half of the second inning. Junior Jenna Legros (Sandy Hook, Conn.) entered the circle and was able to keep the Black Knights off the scoreboard in her first inning of work. Senior Camille Trainor (Worcester, Mass.) singled to begin the top of the third and stole second base on the very next pitch. Croushore, who had singled in the first inning, sent her second hit of the game back up the middle to advance Trainor to third base and knock Army starting pitcher Jules Steurer out of the ballgame. The Black Knights called upon Morgan Lashley, the starter of the both games on Saturday, and junior Sam Fregenti (Melville, N.Y.) welcomed Lashley with a RBI groundout advancing Croushore to second base and scoring Trainor to cut the Army lead to one. Keough then singled to left field to advance Croushore to third and an Ortiz single advanced Keough to second and drove in Croushore to tie the game at three. Rosenthal reached on a fielder's choice as the short stop tried to force Keough out at third base but committed a throwing error, allowing Keough to advance home and gave the Crusaders its first lead of the series, 4-3. The Black Knights were able to get out of the inning on a nice catch by left fielder Amanda Nguyen in foul territory off the bat of Lang.
Army put two runners on to begin the bottom of the third on a walk and an error and Rae Anne Payleitner sent a three-run home run over the center field fence to put the Black Knights back on top, 6-4. After a scoreless fourth and top half of the fifth, Army was able to tack on two more runs on a squeeze bunt by Duval and RBI single by Nguyen in the bottom of the fifth. AuBuchon blasted her second home run of the game to center field in the bottom of the sixth and Duval recorded her second RBI in as many innings with a double down the left field line to bring the Army advantage to 10-4 after six complete innings. The Crusaders went down in order in the top of the seventh to end the game.
Neither starting pitcher received a decision with Barrett going one inning and Steurer going two innings, each allowing three runs on five hits. Legros (0-6) suffered the loss pitching five innings allowing seven runs (six earned) on nine hits. Lashley (14-9) earned her third win of the series going five innings allowing one run (unearned) on three hits and striking out four. Ortiz led the Crusaders offensively with a two-for-three performance and one RBI. Croushore also went two-for-three and Gustafson went two-for-four. Keough went one-for-two with two runs and one RBI.
After a scoreless first two innings the Crusaders got on the board in the top of the third when Trainor doubled off the left center field fence to lead off the inning. Croushore then singled to right to bring Trainor around to score and give Holy Cross the 1-0 advantage. The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth inning when Johnson tallied a one out double to left field, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game, 1-1.
Army broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth inning putting up four runs on four hits including the second home run of the afternoon for Payleitner. The Crusaders responded in the top of the sixth as senoir Gwen Reimer (Pottsville, Pa.) led off with a walk and Keough went deep over the left field fence to make the score 5-3. Trainor, who started the game for Holy Cross in the circle, retired the Black Knights in order in the bottom half of the inning giving the Crusaders one last chance in the top of the seventh inning.
Trainor led off the inning with a single to center field and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Lashley was able to retire the next three batters in a row to end the game. Trainor (1-1) suffered the loss pitching six innings allowing seven hits and five runs (four earned) while striking out one. Lashley (15-9) recorded the series sweep for the Black Knights going seven complete innings allowing three runs on nine hits and striking out six. The battery of Trainor and Lang each went two-for-three offensively in the nightcap and Ortiz finished the afternoon having gone three-for-five with one RBI overall. Keough finished the day two-for-five with three runs and three RBI. Army improved to 19-12 (4-0 PL) on the season.
The Crusaders (3-19, 0-4 PL) will open up the home portion of its Patriot League schedule next weekend, April 7-8, hosting Lafayette at Freshman Field for doubleheaders beginning at 12:00 p.m. each day.