Seahawks advance behind Cruver, Parolise
NEWPORT, R.I. – Senior Kristen Parolise (Hamden, Conn.) went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in to spark the top-seeded Salve Regina University softball team to a 3-1 victory over #4 Roger Williams during a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Championship tournament contest at Toppa Field on Monday evening. The win improves the Seahawks to 23-14 on the year, while the Hawks fall to 19-22.
Earlier in the day, the Hawks defeated #8 Eastern Nazarene by a score of 4-1 behind a strong pitching performance from senior Stacy Broughton (Newton, Conn.) and a 3-for-4 day at the plate by sophomore Kaitlyn Costa (Cranston, R.I.). Sophomore Taylor Fleming (Upland, Ind.) drove in Eastern Nazarene's only run with an RBI single to right in the bottom of the sixth.
Junior Jen Cruver (Noth Haven, Conn.), the CCC Pitcher of the Year, was terrific on the mound for the Seahawks, allowing just one run on four hits, while striking out four to earn her 22nd win of the season. Parolise paved the way for the Seahawk offense, leading all players with two hits including an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Laura Anne Dinan (Monterey, Mass.) was 1-for-3 with a walk and one run batted in, while juniors Jillian Quintana (Denver, Colo.), Megan Jakiela (Meriden, Conn.), and Zeena Barbarita (Johnston, R.I.) each scored one run.
The Hawks were led by senior Hannah Pirez (Bolton, Mass.), who accounted for the team's lone run with a solo homer in the fourth inning. Senior Jaclyn Doolin (Miller Place, N.Y.) reached base in all three of her at bats, going 1-for-1 with a pair of walks, while junior Lauren Tierney (Middleboro, Mass.) and sophomore Rachel Ehrlich (Southport, Conn.) each finished 1-for-3.
Salve Regina took the lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second inning. Quintana got things started by beating out an infield single, and moved into scoring position on a sac bunt from Jakiela. After a single by Barbarita put runners on the corners with one out, Parolise drove home the game's first run with an RBI single to right. Dinan later delivered a clutch two-out single to plate Barbarita from second, giving the Seahawks an early 2-0 advantage.
Cruver breezed through the first three innings, allowing only one hit while needing to face just 10 batters.
However, the Hawks finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when Pirez delivered a solo blast to right center, cutting the Salve Regina lead in half, 2-1.
The Seahawks added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Parolise smacked a run-scoring double down the right field line to give Salve Regina a two-run cushion heading into the seventh.
Refusing to go quietly, the Hawks put the first two runners on in the top of the seventh. Tierney ripped a single through the left side and was followed by a walk from Doolin to begin the late inning threat.
The Seahawks recorded the first out of the inning on a fly out to right, but when the throw went to third trying to cut down the lead runner tagging up, it allowed Doolin to move into scoring position representing the game's tying run.
Unphased, Cruver showed why she was selected as the conference's pitcher of the year, bearing down to strike out the next two Roger Williams' batters to seal the 3-1 victory.
The CCC Softball Championship tournament will continue with four games on Thursday at Toppa Field. Beginning at 2:30 p.m., #4 Roger Williams will battle #6 Western New England on Field 1 and #8 Eastern Nazarene will face #2 Endicott on Field 2. Following these contests, #1 Salve Regina will host #3 University of New England on Field 1, while the winners of the day's first two contests will meet on Field 2.