Rams Win Five of Last Six, Take Out Frustrations in Virginia


McGrath earned her second Atlantic 10 pitcher of the week honor with a masterful stretch as of late. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

An interesting two weeks have concluded for Fordham Softball as they were tested against Saint Joseph’s University (SJU) at home in the Bronx, followed by a five game road trip against the United States Military Academy (Army) and the George Mason University Patriots (GMU). 

Following their escape against Hofstra University, the Rams returned to Bahoshy Field where they battled SJU. The Hawks flew over Fordham in game one 5-0, a game in which SJU picked apart junior Devon Miller with small ball play and fantastic pitching. Sophomore Emily Siler went seven strong innings for SJU, allowing no runs and striking out five in a four hit shutout.

In the second game on Saturday, the Rams sent out senior Makenzie McGrath, who pitched another complete game against SJU’s Amanda Herr. The seniors both pitched fantastic games, combining for 13 strikeouts. But it was McGrath who was bested by the Hawks, as she allowed the lone run to decide game two, resulting in a 1-0 win for SJU. 

Game three was a much different story, with the Rams blowing out the Hawks 8-0 in the final game via mercy rule in the sixth. Graduate student Rachel Hubertus launched a two run rocket to end the series against St. Joseph’s, with Fordham regaining some momentum.  

The Rams then traveled up to West Point to take on Army in a double header this past Wednesday, in which they split. Fordham came well-armed for game one, with Miller once again taking the hill. The Black Knights sent out senior Emily Iannotti to the circle for the first game. 

Miller went only four innings, but did so by giving up only two earned runs on five hits total with five walks. Freshman Emilee Watkins came in and pitched three innings of relief, totaling one walk, one strikeout and two hits with no earned runs and earned the save while Miller won her seventh game of the year. 

It was the Fordham offense who won game one, though, with Hubertus being responsible for four of the seven runs produced by the Rams. Two RBI doubles in the fifth and seventh innings turned into four total runs. Crossing home plate on the Hubertus doubles was junior Michaela Carter, graduate student Brianna Pinto twice and senior Sarah Taffet who also scored twice. Carter also scored again in the seventh when senior Julia Martine flew out in foul territory.

The game was capped off when freshman Mallory McClellan swiped home on a wild pitch, ending game one by a score of 7-2.

Game two was a bit of a different story, with McGrath taking the circle against senior Jolie Duong. Duong pushed the Rams back, and did so with a complete game shutout by allowing only five total hits from Fordham. 

The Black Knights produced three runs: Duong helped her own cause with a two RBI single in the third, then freshman Julia Farris knocked in a third run to seal the fate of the game later in that same inning off McGrath.

Fordham then bussed to Virginia for a weekend series against George Mason, who sat at 6-9 in Atlantic 10 play coming into this series. 

Game one saw Fordham emerge victorious 2-0 with Taffet whacking a solo home run, her third of the season, in the third. Then in the fourth, freshman standout Allie Clark knocked in Martine to make it 2-0.

Miller picked up win number eight on the year, pitching another complete game shutout, and allowing only four total hits.

Game two of the Saturday double header saw Fordham double their run output, and another complete game by McGrath, who allowed two runs and struck out seven.

The third inning was where Fordham’s offense exploded, scoring four total runs. Graduate student Kelly Bright got the run parade started when she scored on a passed ball and Taffet scored on a Hubertus groundout. GMU’s nightmare in the field continued, as sophomore Bailey Enoch reached base on another fielding error which allowed the speed demon Pinto to score the third run of the inning. Things were capped off by an RBI single from freshman Sydney Wells, ballooning things to 4-0.

A GMU double from junior Haley Taormina and an RBI single by senior EJ Bankson in the fourth made it 4-2, but that was not enough as Fordham guaranteed a series win and looked to sweep in game three.

The Rams didn’t make it easy on themselves, as in game three, the Patriots pushed the Rams around in a game that went nine innings.

The Patriots’ defense continued to befuddle itself, as in the first inning Carter reached on a throwing error that allowed Pinto to walk across home plate — the second time in this series Pinto had scored on an error and the third time Fordham capitalized on errors this series. 

George Mason responded as Taormina laced an RBI double in the bottom half of the first and redshirt sophomore Nicole Bechtel drove her in on an RBI single down the right field line to put GMU in front 2-1. 

Hubertus took matters into her own hands, as she swung her mighty bat to launch a two run home run to make it 3-2 Fordham in the third. The home run was her 15th on the year, putting her in a tie for seventh in a single season in school history. It was also her 37th career home run, inching her closer to fourth all time on the Fordham Softball home run list.

In the fifth, Devon Miller came to bat with the bases loaded and drew a four pitch walk that forced in a run and helped her own cause. Miller lasted only two innings as the starter, where she allowed two earned runs and only struckout one batter.

But George Mason had the answer as Taormina attacked again and pulled one run back with a solo shot to make it 4-3 in the sixth. Mason further pushed Fordham to the brink when they tied things in the seventh via an RBI single by senior Talyor Dadig. 

And so, onto extra innings for the Rams and Patriots.

After no ground was given in the eighth, Enoch saved the day again for the Rams with a go-ahead single in the ninth that scored Michaela Carter and pushed Fordham back in front 5-4. Enoch was also in the circle for the Rams for four and two thirds innings, as she allowed two earned runs, sat down two batters, walked two and allowed four hits.

It was McGrath once again who came in for the final 2.1 innings for the Rams and she was stellar, allowing only one hit and walking two while collecting her eighth win on the year. And to top the madness off, freshman Mary Grace O’Neill came into the field to replace Pinto and made a game-saving throw home with two outs to throw a potential game-winning run out at the plate. 

No quarter was given for the Rams, as they swept the Patriots aside and have won five of their last six games. Inching closer to A-10 tournament play, Fordham looks to keep the momentum as they head to St. Bonaventure for three games this weekend.