By Malcolm Luck
Riding a 13-game winning streak dating back to March 22, the Lions finally fell to Rowan University in their match against the New Jersey Athletic Conference rival this season.
Coming into the doubleheader on April 16, Rowan had a 7-2 record against conference opponents this year. It came up clutch with late game heroics in the first match to secure a 5-4 victory.
In the bottom of the second inning, sophomore outfielder Kaitlin Kocinski lifted a homerun to center field to give her team and sophomore starting pitcher Eliza Sweet an early 1-0 lead. In the top half of the next frame, Rowan responded with two runs off of an error by senior catcher Jess McGuire and a sacrifice fly to put itself back on top.
McGuire would make up for her mistake in the bottom of the fourth. Following a leadoff single from sophomore outfielder Katie Winchock and a sacrifice bunt from sophomore infielder Lauren Conroy, McGuire knotted the game at 2-2 with an RBI double to left center.
The College would add two more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth frame, entering the final inning with a two-run lead.
Sweet surrendered a walk and a single to the first two batters. A dropped pop up in foul territory by sophomore infielder Elyse Nardozza extended the at-bat, as Rowan capitalized with a game-tying two-run double.
A sacrifice bunt gave Rowan the lead one batter later. Despite a one-out double in the bottom of the inning for the Lions, the rally came up short as they ultimately lost 5-4.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Lions would find themselves on the opposite end of a one-run victory, as the team bounced back for a 4-3 win.
On a day where sophomore starting pitcher Alanna Namit was not her usual dominant self, she still gave her team a chance to win by only allowing three earned runs on three hits and three walks over 4 1/3 innings. She was relieved by freshman pitcher Tori Aguilar in the fifth inning, followed by junior pitcher Kristen Barrera pitching the sixth and seventh innings. Aguilar and Barrera would go on to earn the win and the save, respectively.
The Lions’ offense refused to lay down despite Rowan’s steady stream of runs throughout the game. Down 1-0 in the third inning, the Lions jumped back on top when Conroy laced a two-out, two-run double to center field, scoring sophomore outfielder Allie Immerso and junior infielder Megan Mayernik.
In another 3-2 deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning, McGuire blasted a go-ahead two-run homer to left field to put the Lions on top 4-3, which would hold as the final score, sending Rowan home with a series split against the conference’s first-place club.
The Lions return to the field on Saturday, April 27, when they play William Paterson University on the road.