ELON, NC – Siena Softball (0-2) began its 2020 campaign doing battle with a pair of solid mid-major programs in North Carolina. The Saints fell to Radford, 7-4, before dropping a 7-3 decision to host Elon at the Phoenix Invitational.
Game One – Radford 7, Siena 4
Siena began it’s 2020 season by nearly overcoming a six-run deficit in it’s first matchup with the Highlanders since 2013. Radford used an RBI double, an ensuing single and a throwing error to break out to a 3-0 lead in the home half of the first. The Big South foe would add an insurance run in the third inning off a fielder’s choice that resulted in a Siena miscue and two more off a throwing folly and an RBI single in the fourth.
Kicking off its campaign in the earliest fashion – both in time and date – in program history, the Saints woke up and plated four runs in the top of the fifth to come within two. Senior Kelly Rasulo scored freshman Angelina Stile with an RBI double to left field to get things started, setting up a bases-loaded opportunity. Competing in her first game in the Green and Gold after transferring from Villanova, junior Taylor Rhinehart smacked a 3-RBI double to lead to send in three runs and clear the bags.
Coming into the day after falling to the host Phoenix on Friday afternoon, Radford (1-1) used the strength of a complete game victory for pitcher Riley Oakes (1-0) to preserve the lead and the win. Oakes would finish with seven strikeouts, three walks and four earned runs surrendered on five hits in all seven innings in the circle.
The Saints were unable to make anything happen in the final two frames, going 1-2-3 in the sixth and stranding a runner to end the game. Senior right-hander Maddie McMahon (0-1) was charged with two earned runs (six total) on seven hits, while recording four strikeouts and walks apiece. Freshman Nicole Patille made her Siena debut on the circle in relief, allowing one run on three hits in two and one-third innings, while striking out a pair.
Game Two – Elon 7, Siena 3
Siena returned to the field for action against the host Phoenix for the first time since 2009 later in the evening, and briefly held its first lead of the new season. Following an RBI single that got the home team on the board in the bottom of the first, senior Lauren Sabihon and Stile knocked back-to-back RBI singles to put the Saints up, 2-1, after two and a half innings.
The lead would not hold for long, with Elon taking a lead they would never relinquish during the next frame. The Phoenix launched home runs of the three-run and two-run variety and added a bases-loaded walk to plate six and pull out to a 7-2 lead. The Saints would manage one more run which came off an RBI single from freshman Kaitlyn Davis in the top of the sixth but could not climb back.
Rhinehart (0-1) took the ball for her first start in the circle for Siena, allowing six runs (three earned) on as many hits, while walking one batter and striking out three. Freshman Allison Speshyock then made her pitching debut with one and one-third innings in the circle, followed by sophomore Sarah Dowalo, who allowed just one hit during the final two innings of the game.
Siena closes out weekend competition at the Phoenix Invitational with a morning doubleheader on Sunday, February 16. The Saints will hold a rematch with Radford at 9:30 AM before taking on Morgan State at 11:45 AM.