Softball extends winning streak to three with Baruch sweep in home opener
JERSEY CITY, NJ — The University of New Jersey City softball team hosted Baruch College on Saturday afternoon, March 18, at the Thomas M. Gerrity Athletic Complex for the home opener of the crew. The Gothic Knights swept the Bearcats via an eight-inning 5-4 comeback in Game 1, as well as a 3-1 win in Game 2.
Jersey City (4-4) opened the game with loud bats in the first inning, as junior Emily Tunney (Mays Landing, NJ/Oak Crest) started things off with a single. Tunney, then second, was moved to third via a sacrificial bunt from junior Mariah Villanueva (Jersey City, NJ/McNair Academic). On the next bat, the strongest hit of the day came, as sophomore Mya Villanueva (Jersey City, NJ/McNair Academic) drilled her first career home run deep left, giving the Gothic Knights a 2-0 lead.
Baruch (2-2) was kept quiet early, as junior pitcher and co-captain Sidnie Dabbadie (Burbank, Calif./John Burroughs) also got off to a strong start, striking out his first six of nine batters faced, including four strikeouts at bat. on stretching. Dabbadie, however, finally faced adversity in the third when she allowed three singles to open the set, allowing Baruch to level the score at 2-2. Despite runs through the plate, she kept her composure as she escaped further trouble by striking out the next three batters, including blocking a runner at third after recording two more strikeouts to end the sleeve.
The Bearcats took the lead in the fourth, capitalizing on an NJCU error, and extended the lead with another run in the fifth to make it 4-2. Despite NJCU’s downfall, Dabbadie continued to pitch well and held the Bearcats at bay. NJCU continued to trail through the bottom of the seventh, but sophomore Abby Castro (Clifton, NJ/Passaic County Tech) continued her strong start to the season by starting the inning with a single. Then, three batters later, with Jersey City until her last strike, rookie Natalie Rosales (Union City, NJ/Jose Marti STEM Academy) produced the biggest hit of her young Gothic Knights career as she and Castro capitalized on two field errors on the play, allowing the two to score in dramatic fashion. NJCU tied the game 4-4 at the end of the seventh, forcing extras.
Dabbadie in the eighth found herself in a traffic jam, as she walked the first batter, then found the bases loaded on a no-out fielder’s choice bunt, due to extra inning rules with a starting runner. Secondly. However, the right-hander seized the opportunity again, as she struck out the next three batters on soft-ground balls to get out of the bases-laden traffic jam. Then in the bottom of the eighth, Tunney sacrificed to move sophomore Victoria Devoto (Ridgefield, NJ/Immaculate Conception) to third. This put the older of the two Villanueva sisters in first place as on a 1-0 count; she drilled a line drive into left field scoring Devoto allowing the team to come away 5-4 victorious in extras.
Game 1 Highlights:
– With her outstanding 8.0 innings of work in the circle, Dabbadie now has three wins this season, putting her within two of her last season win total of five.
– Additionally, Dabbadie had 11 strikeouts, hitting double-digits for the first time this season. Those 11 games are the second in a single outing of her career, as she had a career-high 12 against Baruch last season, as well as 11 against Martin Luther College last spring.
– With Mya Villanueva (Jersey City, NJ/McNair Academic) home run late in the first, the Gothic Knights now have two home runs this season as a team, tying last season’s total at just eight games.
The Green and Gold continued their pitching momentum in Game 2, as this time junior and co-captain Sam Miller (Newburgh, NY/Newburgh Free Academy) took his turn in the circle. Miller was effective especially in the first three innings as she struck out the first nine of the 10 batters she faced, while allowing no hits. Freshman Yavely Marrero (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy) played right field in Game 2 and woke up the NJCU bats, as she started the inning with a single, then stole the second to get into scoring position. That finally set up game one hero Mariah Villanueva (Jersey City, NJ/McNair Academic), who again produced a big RBI single down the middle to give NJCU a 1-0 lead.
The Bearcats, however, responded in the top of the fourth as they capitalized on a fielding error after earning their first forward at-bat, making it 1-1. NJCU, however, in the bottom half of the fourth, did not calm down as they responded immediately with Dabbadie and Miller singling back to back. NJCU then charged the bases for a fielding error, then responded again, as Marrero brought home junior Nicole Weinbel (Clifton, NJ/Clifton), who ran for Dabbadie, on a strong single on the field putting NJCU up 2-1.
The Gothic Knights didn’t score the rest of the inning, but luckily that run became the deciding factor as Miller continued to turn off the lights after striking out the final nine of the 12 batters she faced. NJCU added one more run in the bottom of the sixth as Devoto brought Castro home to extend the lead to 3-1. Miller then found herself in a traffic jam after retiring the first two batters of the seventh, allowing two straight singles, but she closed the game by pitching as she created a routine fly ball in the third to end the game. . NJCU won Game 2, completing Baruch’s sweep with a final score of 3-1.
Game 2 Highlights:
– Mariah Villanueva (Jersey City, NJ/McNair Academic) continued her momentum in Game 2, producing a solid 2-for-3 game with an RBI, continuing her hot start as she is now 5-for-16 to open the season.
– Miller found herself in a pitching duel and rose to the occasion, throwing arguably the strongest outing of her career. Miller previously had a five-inning shutout against Brooklyn College on March 23, 2022, and no earned runs in 7.0 complete innings against the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford last season on March 11, 2023, in loss, however, had never been complete. seven innings without giving up an earned run in a game-winning effort until this afternoon.
— Marrero’s two-hit day culminated in the first multi-hit game of his young career.
– Finally, Castro’s two-hit day marks her fifth multi-hit game of the season as her 13-for-25 start already sees her post a career-high in hits in just eight games.
The Gothic Knights return home on Tuesday, March 21 as they host Brooklyn for a doubleheader at the Gerrity. The first pitch of the first game is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. NJCU is looking to extend its winning streak against the Bulldogs to seven as the Greens and Ors are 5-0 against Brooklyn.