Miller Throws a Pair of Perfect Games, Softball Dominates La Salle to Bring Win Streak to 17

Devon Miller’s 24 strikeouts and two perfect games, alongside prolific plate production, led Fordham Softball to a weekend sweep of the Explorers and took their win streak four games further.


Miller (above) threw the seventh and eighth perfect games in program history this weekend. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Alexander Wolz, Sports Editor

Six. There are only six perfect games in Fordham Softball history, thrown by just two different players. One Ram has done it multiple times: Jen Mineau owns five perfect games and nine no-hitters. 

Both of those clubs now have their newest member.

Over the weekend, Fordham Softball swept La Salle University at Bahoshy Field with four wins. The Rams extended their winning streak to 17 games, as La Salle stays winless on the year, now sitting at 0-13. The headline, though, was undoubtedly sophomore Devon Miller, who threw a pair of consecutive perfect five-inning performances. 

As was the case last weekend against the University of Massachusetts, the series’ first match was by far the closest. Fordham downed the Explorers 6-2 to grant graduate student Madie Aughinbaugh her ninth win, as she stays undefeated on the season.

La Salle got on the board first with a solo home run from Victoria Zatko, but as they have done all year long, Fordham responded just a few innings later. Three doubles did the damage in the fourth, as freshman Bella Ayala drove home junior Julia Martine who opened the inning with an extra base hit. Sophomore Michaela Carter added a single to score Ayala and senior Brianna Pinto drove in the third run with a double of her own.

Four hits and three runs later, Fordham grabbed the lead and they did not let it go. La Salle stringed together some singles in the fifth to add a run and threaten the Rams, but Fordham responded with another three-run inning, this time in the sixth, to put things out of reach.

That run from La Salle was not just their last of the game, however, but of the entire series.

Ayala started off the inning with a solo home run, as the freshman has quickly found her footing with hits in 14 of her 16 outings this season, including three home runs. Then, with runners on second and third, another freshman, Bailey Enoch, sent a sacrifice fly into right field to bring Carter home. Lastly, Fordham executed a brilliant double steal to send in Pinto and propel a sixth run to the board.

Junior Makenzie McGrath stepped in to secure the seventh, and just like that, game one was in the books. Then came the Devon Miller show. 

The stat line tells the story: 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 12 SOs en route to an 8-0 victory. Good signs came early for Miller as she struck out the game’s first seven batters, but La Salle failed to buck that trend the second time through the order. 

Fordham, however, had no such troubles at the plate. They got going right in the first inning as Ayala carried her momentum from the opener into a two-RBI single. Then came the third inning, where Fordham threw three more runs on the board behind a few favors from La Salle.

Martine took first with a full count walk at the plate, but four errors from the Explorers helped move the Fordham runner around the bases and bring a quartet of them home, including Martine, senior Rachel Hubertus and Ayala. 

With the game surely in hand, the quest for Fordham shifted to ending the day early, and they were able to do just that. A combo of singles from pinch hitting senior Gianna Ranieri, Ayala and Miller put a seventh on the board. Needing just one more run to force the five-inning end, Carter doubled to left field, Pinto sent her to third with a single and Enoch doubled the opposite way to score Carter and put things away for Fordham.

The walk-off certainly came secondary to Miller at the mound, however, and Carey behind the plate. Speaking to Fordham Athletics about the afternoon, coach Melissa Inouye said, “Devon set the tone early by striking out the side and it was fun to see her pitch with confidence. Amanda is a big part of all the strikeouts as she does a great job receiving.” 

It is a vital part of the conversation, as Carey’s terrific efforts at framing the ball in the right places help Miller stay ahead in the count and deliver the double-digit strikeout games as she often does. Friday was her third consecutive one, and there was still more to come.

Before that, though, senior Anne Marie Prentiss had to take care of business in the Rams’ opening game on Saturday. And that she did. Throwing a second straight complete game of her own, Prentiss cooly dealt five innings and strikeouts while allowing just four hits to keep La Salle off the board. This time, the final stretched to 9-0 through five.

Fordham spread the wealth in this one, scoring in each of the first three innings. Errors again benefitted Fordham’s cause, as one sent Enoch to first base to start the contest and then enabled her to come home following a double from junior Sarah Taffet. With two runners in scoring position following a move to second from Martine, Hubertus drove a double into left field to score them both, as her 25 RBIs sit comfortably in the team lead.

One inning later came the power that coach Inouye wants to see. Carter stepped into second with a double and Enoch struck a ball deep into right field to score her with a two-run home run. Enoch is coming into form as well now, with RBIs in each of her last six games, 12 in total on the season. Hubertus added one more to her name in the inning and Fordham already scorched the scoreboard for six runs through two.

Looking defeated, La Salle struggled to muster anything up themselves and Fordham poured on the necessary fuel to end things in the fifth. Ayala singled, and fittingly, Prentiss sent a two run home run into left center field to walk things off for the Rams. The complete game shutout also brings Prentiss to the team lead in ERA at 1.67, sitting just below both Miller and Aughinbaugh at 1.69 and 1.71, respectively.

If all of that was not enough, Miller certainly put the cherry on top of the weekend in the series’ final game. Just one day later, Miller dealt another 12 strikeouts in five innings for another perfect game.

To put things in perspective, Miller has struck out 24 of her last 30 batters, an astonishing 80%. Her 73 strikeouts across 41.1 innings is good for just over one an inning. That level of power alongside the control of just 14 walks is an impressive feat, and it was on display in the 13-0 win to conclude the series.

After skipping the first, Fordham pounced on La Salle in the game’s middle frames, headlined by an eight-run third inning offensive explosion. The first production for Fordham came with two outs in the second, however. Prentiss doubled and was brought home by a Miller single, who ultimately scored alongside Carter courtesy of another error by the Explorers.

However, those three runs were nothing compared to what came in the eighth. Taffet led the inning off by sending another home run out of Bahoshy Field, already her sixth on the year. From there, Hubertus doubled, Ayala singled and Prentiss walked to load up the bases. La Salle earned a force out at home, but then a walk to Carter brought one run home and a double from Brianna Pinto scored another two. 

Enoch added to her hot streak with a two-run double to score Pinto and Carter. That was the first of three doubles, the latter two coming from Taffet and Martine in a return to where the inning started, to put 11 on the board for Fordham.

And for a storybook ending, Miller sent a two run shot into left field in the fourth to make her mark on both sides of the ball for the Rams. 13-0 was the final and Fordham completed the sweep of the Explorers. 

Fordham has become accustomed to winning as of late, with a streak now sitting at 17, but this weekend was decidedly different. A perfect game is a rarity in sports, and to do it twice in an equal number of days is merely fictitious. Miller did it, however, and received recognition as A-10 Pitcher of the Week for it, with Pinto coming in as Player of the Week herself.

And they both should cherish it, but as Fordham often does, they will already be looking to the future. Not just the immediate, which is a Thursday showdown, 3 p.m. at Stony Brook University, but in the ultimate goal of an Atlantic 10 Championship that sits a little over a month away.

Questions of competition remain, as La Salle sits at the bottom of the North division and Fordham’s next conference opponent, St. Bonaventure University, is winless at 0-14 themselves. Still, Fordham has taken care of who sits in front of them. And regardless of what happens, Miller will have her name etched into the Fordham history books forever.