Softball Cruises Past St. Bonaventure to 20 Consecutive Wins


Softball overcome one if toughest opponents in Stony Brook as a warmup for an even stronger outcome against St. Bonaventure. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

In what is becoming a routine thing to say, Fordham Softball had another weekend sweep. This time they won two games against St. Bonaventure University which extended their win streak to 20 games.

Prior to that, though, came perhaps the Rams’ toughest game in recent memory, against a talented Stony Brook University team on Thursday. Aside from their 10-6 loss to Fordham back on March 30 that needed senior Brianna Pinto’s heroics with a walk-off grand slam to win it, the Seawolves had won 10 of their last 12 heading into this matchup to sit at 17-8 on the season.

Similar to last time, this showdown was another close one requiring a late rally from the Rams to ultimately dispatch Stony Brook 5-2 to extend the win streak to 18.

After a quiet first inning, Stony Brook struck first with a big two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning. It was crucial not only to put runs on the board but the pressure on graduate pitcher Madie Aughinbaugh in her 100th career start, coming into this game with a perfect record on the season at 10-0.

As they often do, Fordham responded with some terrific strategy on the basepaths and a bit of good fortune. Pinto reached first on an error, proceeded to steal second, advanced to third on another error and ultimately scored on a double steal attempt following a walk to junior second baseman Sarah Taffet.

Now in striking distance, Aughinbaugh came into form allowing just one hit until her exit in the bottom of the fifth for a final statline of 4.2 innings, two hits, two runs and only a single strikeout, her lowest output on the season so far. 

In the top of that same inning, Fordham finally found the lead as well. Following a Stony Brook pitching change, Pinto got things started with a single to put an immediate threat on the bases. Aughinbaugh then took first with a four-pitch walk and a double steal brought both runners into scoring position.

Then, the RBIs machine redshirt junior first baseman Rachel Hubertus delivered one more, ripping a single into center field in what was only a preview of what was to come. Freshman third baseman Bella Ayala then sent a line drive sacrifice fly into left field for a 3-2 lead on the afternoon.

Sophomore pitcher Devon Miller took the mound following the momentum of a pair of perfect games. She did not give up a hit in this one either over her two and a third innings of relief but provided three free bases with walks. Regardless, it was more than enough to hold the Fordham lead which grew to three in the top of the sixth behind a home run from Hubertus. 

Junior infielder Julia Martine singled to right-center and Hubertus drove the ball a few feet further in that same direction to bring her home, bringing her total to 29 RBIs on the season and a 5-2 victory against the Seawolves.

That crucial win against a quality opponent led into a weekend doubleheader against one of much less caliber. While remaining competitive in most of its games, St. Bonaventure sits winless at 0-16 on the season. Regardless, Fordham still had a job to do against an Atlantic 10 opponent. And they did just that.

The closest of two games on the Saturday doubleheader, Fordham downed the Bonnies 4-2 in the opener. Instead of crawling back from behind, this time they jumped right out in front with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning.

Taffet sent a double into right-center field and Martine flexed her strength with a deep drive into left-center to score the first two runs of the game. The second baseman and shortstop have been a lethal combination so far this season, as Taffet owns the team lead with a .700 slugging percentage and Martine sits near the top with a .467 on-base percentage, crucial for a second spot hitter in the lineup.

In a game characterized by power, Hubertus showed more of the same skying a ball into center field for her fifth home run of the season. In front at 3-0, that was a lead Fordham held until the seventh.

Miller took the mound for her first start since that weekend dream against La Salle and performed largely the same through six innings. In fact, she had another perfect game going through three innings, striking out six of her first nine batters and another three after allowing her first hit in the top of the fourth. A pair of walks in the fifth was the first real scoring threat for the Bonnies, but Miller silenced it with two key strikeouts to end the inning.

Runs came from the opposition in the seventh, however, behind a two-run home run from catcher Madison Stewart after a walk to Grace Walker. But there was no need to panic, and one last strikeout for her 15th on the day cemented the win for Fordham.

With another incredible pitching performance, Miller has produced double-digit strikeouts in each of her last six starts, with these 16 tying her season-high. Speaking on both sides of the ball, head coach Melissa Inouye said to Fordham Athletics, “We did a good job setting the tone right away for power in the first inning of game one. Devon and Amanda did a good job mixing pitches against a free-swinging team.”

And that trend continued into game two with Aughinbaugh’s work on the mound. After what could be considered a disappointing start by her standards against Stony Brook, Aughinbaugh responded with another complete-game victory, her eleventh total and fifth in that fashion, allowing just four hits and climbing back up to eight strikeouts.

The scorecard also could not be any simpler, as the 8-0 final came entirely from an explosive second inning for the Rams. Following a one-two-three first inning, Bonnies’ pitcher Emily Phelan lost her magic in the second and Fordham capitalized on it. 

Hubertus kicked off the inning with a double and Ayala proceeded to reach first on an error by the third baseman. With two base runners aboard, senior catcher Aubree Barney added a third with a walk in just her sixth start of the season in place of Amanda Carey.

Having the bases loaded, senior pitcher Anne Marie Prentiss brought all three home with a triple into right field. A single from sophomore outfielder Michaela Carter at the next at-bat sent Prentiss home, as the team leader in batting average at .426 cemented her place.

Those four runs were still only half of Fordham’s total production on the inning. A wild at-bat from Pinto saw her reach first on a fielder’s choice attempt to Carter at second, but a series of infield blunders kept both runners safe and advanced them into scoring position. 

And it came back to cost the Bonnies as Aughinbaugh did her part at the plate as well, sending a double into right-center field to score both. To finish it off, Taffett showed her strength once again belting out her team-high seventh home run of the season and providing the insurance runs for Fordham to put this one away early in just five innings.

That was all on this short weekend slate, a familiar outcome for a Rams team that seems untouchable at the moment. Simply put, St. Bonaventure was a team Fordham was expected to beat, but the midweek win against Stony Brook was an impressive one. And as is often repeated, teams can only focus on what is in front of them, and Fordham has been locked in over the last 20 games, including these last three.

An intriguing Wednesday matchup with the University of Connecticut has been postponed, as has a four-game home weekend series with the University of Rhode Island, who is on a COVID-19 pause of their own. After actively searching for replacements, Fordham found one in Army West Point, who they defeated 5-4 on opening day of the season.

They will face off in a pair of doubleheaders this weekend as Fordham looks to continue an incredible run that does not seem to be stopping anytime soon, no matter who they will be playing against.