Clarkson softball splits at RPI, Zoeller whiffs nine in nightcap
Troy, NY – Freshman Olivia Zoeller struck out nine in a complete-game effort as the Clarkson University Softball team split a doubleheader against Rensselaer on Saturday afternoon, dropping the opener 4-1 and picking up a win in the nightcap 5-2.
The Golden Knights moved to 17-11 overall and 2-4 in the Liberty League with the split, while the Engineers pushed their mark to 19-7 overall and 3-3 9 in conference games. Clarkson will be closer to home on Sunday as the team takes on Route 11 rival St. Lawrence in a doubleheader which was pushed to a 10:00 am start due to weather concerns.One big blast in game one was the deciding factor as the two teams were knotted at 1-1 heading into the fifth. Erin Askins drove in a run for the Engineers in the bottom of the first with an infield groundout to put RPI up 1-0 in the early going. Clarkson was set down in order in the first three innings, but got its offense rolling in the top of the fourth when Raeanna Dunn led off with a single. She advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt but was still stranded at the keystone base after a fly out. However, Michele Winn singled to center to plate the graduate student, tying the game 1-1 at the midway point.
The Engineers would get a big hit in the bottom of the fifth when Allie Hunt hit a two-out, three-run homer to put the RPI up 4-1. Clarkson threatened with runners on first and second in the sixth, but a line-out double play squashed the rally.
Sam Mennig pitched well in the opener for the Knights, giving up eight hits and four earned run in six frames, allowing just the one big hit to muddy up her stat line. Jaime Cleasby allowed six hits and a single earned run to gain the win for the Engineers.
Game two was a matchup of top freshman pitchers in the Liberty League with Clarkson's Olivia Zoeller facing RPI's Erika Holowka. The Engineers would strike first with two runs in the bottom of the first thanks to a double from Allie Hunt. However, that was the end of Rensselaer's scoring in game two and the Knights touched Holowka for four runs in the fourth. With one on and two outs, Clarkson received five straight hits to push four across. Michele Winn was on via a hit by pitch and Kyrstin Messier singled to put two on, but Sarah Vaccaro, Maddie Brink, Rylee LeBourveau and Raeanna Dunn each singled home one run to put the Knights up 4-2. Vaccaro tacked on an insurance run for the Knights in the sixth with a solo homer.
Zoeller went seven strong innings, striking out nine and giving up five hits and a pair of walks. Dunn, Messier, Vaccaro and LeBourveau each enjoyed multi-hit games, with Vaccaro driving in two and scoring twice.