On their trip back to Clermont, Fla., the softball team showed what a little sun can do for their game.

‘This weekend the softball team really started to work as a unit,” head coach Margaret Yerdon said. ‘We got great performances from our pitching staff and defense, which will be key to our success this season.”

The women rolled off three straight victories following a loss over the weekend.

After a disappointing 4-4 showing at the University Athletic Association Championships over spring break, the Yellowjackets needed a spark going into the weekend.

The pitching proved to just that, allowing only seven earned runs over the four-game span.

On Saturday, the women faced Eastern Connecticut State University, where sophomore right-handed pitcher Sara Hutchinson struck out eight, only to turn around and strike out another four for the save in the second half of the doubleheader against Keene State

College. Freshman pitcher Madeline Skellie would get the win in the against Keene State.
None of their games were bigger than their 4-2 victory over the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, who is ranked No. 12 in the National Fastball Coaches Association Top 25.

The Yellowjackets played smart softball taking walks, sacrificing when needed and coming up big in key situations.

‘In the last three games we played in Clermont the team executed, which is a big reason why we won those games,” Yerdon said. ‘It is important for us to take the momentum from these wins into the competition we will face this week and the rest of the season.”

Not to be shown up over the weekend, the offense pounded out 14 runs of their own, with senior catcher Juliana Nicholson driving in five runs.

‘I would have to say that it felt like our team really clicked,” sophomore center fielder Katie McLean said. ‘We played with a lot of intensity this trip and it really showed. Both of our offense and defense were solid, as was our pitching.”

The defense proved to be a problem for the Yellowjackets, which allowed almost as many unearned runs as earned.

With a solid defense and a couple more big wins over ranked opponents, the softball team has an opportunity to be a strong contender in the NFCA Top 25.

‘A big thing is going to be consistency, with both fielding and batting,” Nicholson said. ‘If we utilize the skills we have, perform at the level that we are capable of and go into every game with intensity, we will have what we need to propel us through a very successful season.”

The Yellowjackets will begin their Liberty League schedule Thursday afternoon against their rival Rochester Institute of Technology. They go into the game having won the last four out of five games against RIT.

Manrique is a member of the class of 2012.

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