Pagano's Arm And Clifford's Bat Powers Softball To Doubleheader Sweep Against FDU
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Nicole Pagano (Berlin, N.J./St. Joseph) picked up a pair of victories after allowing one run in 11 innings and Cat Clifford (Hopewell Junction, N.J./John Jay) smacked the decisive home run in both games to lead Mount St. Mary's to its first doubleheader sweep of the season in Northeast Conference (NEC) softball action against Fairleigh Dickinson on Saturday. The Mount won the opener 1-0 and then took the nightcap, 4-3.
Pagano tossed a four-hit complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts in the opener and then allowed one run on five hits with two strikeouts in four innings of work in the nightcap. The shutout in the first game was her fifth of the season. The redshirt sophomore picked up two wins on the afternoon to improve to 10-8 on the year. She is the seventh hurler in program history to reach double figures in wins in a single season. In addition, Pagano tied teammate Amanda Sadowl (Horsham, Pa./Hatboro-Horsham) for career wins in team history with 23 victories.
Clifford smacked a solo shot to lead off the seventh inning for the decisive run in the opener and then a solo shot in the fifth of the nightcap to give the Mount a 4-1 lead and which proved to be the difference in a 4-3 victory. The sophomore went 4-for-7 on the afternoon with two homers, two RBIs, two runs scored and a double. After not hitting a homer as a freshman, Clifford now has seven round trippers in 2012.
Liz Christiansen (Etters, Pa./Red Land) also went 4-for-7 with her seventh homer of the season, two RBIs and a run scored for the Mountaineers (13-28, 6-8 NEC) while Danni Cummings pitched the final three innings in the second game, allowing two runs on three hits with two strikeouts for her first collegiate save.
Megan Reiner took the hard-luck loss in the opener for the Knights (25-17, 5-11 NEC) after allowing one run on five hits with eight strikeouts. For the day, Reiner tossed 10 innings and allowed the one run on six hits with 12 strikeouts. Mikayla Fernandez went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer on the afternoon.
In the opener, the game remained deadlocked until Clifford led off the seventh with a homer to center field for a 1-0 win.
Fairleigh Dickinson got a runner in scoring position in the first, fourth, fifth and seventh, but Pagano was able to keep the Knights off the scoreboard. In the fifth, Kristen Shreve led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but the Mount hurler induced a pair out ground outs to end the threat. After Clifford gave the Mountaineers the lead, Fernandez and Shreve hit back-to-back singles with one out and moved to second and third on a ground out. Pagano ended the game with her 11th strikeout of the contest.
In the nightcap, Mount St. Mary's broke a 1-all standstill with three runs in the fifth and held on for a 4-3 victory to complete its first twinbill sweep of the season.
Lindsey Ruhle (Wanaque, N.J./Lakeland Regional), who got the start at second base near her hometown, singled to center field to open the fifth and came around on Christiansen's two-run homer to left center on a full count. Clifford followed with her second home run of the day on a 2-2 pitch to give the Mountaineers a 4-1 lead.
Fairleigh Dickinson answered with two runs in the sixth to make it a one-run game at 4-3 thanks to a Fernandez two-run homer. Cummings then retired the Knights in order in the seventh to earn her first collegiate save.
Mount. Mary's got the scoring started in the second game with a run in the first. Christiansen singled up the middle and Clifford put runners at second and third after a double to left center. Kelly Hickman (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) walked to load the bases before Erin Leddy (Great Mills, Md./St. Mary's Ryken) singled to center to plate Christiansen with the first run.
Shreve tied the game in the second and ended Pagano's string of eight-scoreless innings on the day with an RBI single to tie the game at 1. The Mount then scored three runs in the fifth and held on for the victory.
Due to the incoming weather front scheduled to hit the Emmitsburg area Saturday night and Sunday, the Mount St. Mary's home doubleheader against LIU Brooklyn has been postponed. Makeup date and time to be announced.
The Mount will return to action at Coppin State on Tuesday. First pitch is 4:30 p.m.