Softball starts undefeated in SUNYAC play

The women's softball team saw a rough start to their Spring season at the Rebel Games in Kissimmee, Fla. even though a promising crop of freshmen gave the notion of a bright future for the '07 season. However, they bounced back last week, winning a pair of double-headers against New Paltz and Oneonta to even up the season record at 7-7 and start off undefeated in SUNYAC play.

The Rebel Games had the Knights facing four top 25 teams: Central College, Simpson College, Marietta College and Ramapo College. "I learned a lot about the team and they learned about me, especially the freshmen," noted head coach Tony Ciccarello. "I feel the level of competition we faced has made us a better team in the long run and helped the team realize what needs to be done to be a nationally-ranked team."

When the team headed back north, they looked refocused and rejuvenated, clipping New Paltz in the first of a pair of games on Friday by a score of 7-6. After succumbing to one Hawk run in the second, the Knights answered with three of their own in the top of the third off a double by junior Kristen Newton with the bases loaded. Even after New Paltz tied the game in the bottom of the third, Geneseo was relentless, jumping out to a commanding lead with a three-run fifth inning. They took no prisoners in the second game, trouncing the Hawks 8-0. A four-run sixth inning ended the game by mercy rule. Sophomore Liz Squairs led the onslaught, going 1-2 with two sacrifice flies and a two-run double, and sophomore Lindsay Norton hit a two-run single.

The Knights made sure not to let up the following day during their games against Oneonta. Once again, they shut out their opponent, opening the day with an 8-0 thrashing. Sophomore Kerry Kuhn had eight strikeouts and allowed only five hits in the shutout, hitting a solo homerun to boot. Also chipping in for the Knights was senior Christina Marinucci, who finished the game 3-4 with three RBI. Oneonta didn't go quietly in the second game, coming back for three runs in the top of the seventh to try to climb out of a 7-0 hole. Geneseo hung on, however, winning by an 8-5 final. Senior Melissa Mason led by example with three runs scored and two RBI. Kuhn allowed only 10 hits and earned five strikeouts. She was relieved by Norton for the final out of the game.

"Every player contributed to one or more of the wins for the team," Ciccarello said. The coach was also quick to note how tough their conference is this year. Two teams, Plattsburgh and Buffalo State, are ranked in the top 30, and the Knights will have to be up to the very difficult challenge.

Geneseo faced off against another conference foe on Tuesday, April 3, traveling to Fredonia for a doubleheader. They suffered their first SUNYAC loss of the season in game one, losing 4-1. Kerry Kuhn allowed all four Fredonia runs in six innings, striking out six Blue Devil batters. Geneseo was able to muster only five hits on offense, with Newton going 2-3 with an RBI.

The Lady Knights bounced back in game two to salvage a split, picking up a 7-6 victory. Senior Audrey Kuhn lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing eight hits and six earned runs while the Blue Devils opened up a 6-0 lead. But Geneseo came back with a five-run fourth, including two-run singles from sophomore second baseman Sara Weisenborn and Marinucci. Norton and freshman Kristin Carroza combined on 4.2 shutout innings out of the bullpen, while Newton hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to win the game for Geneseo, who hosts Potsdam at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 6