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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Utica softball finding success after sweeping Elmira

Utica took down Elmira in a 9-4 game. Jordyn Conte got the win on the mound as she pitched the complete game only letting up two earned runs while having nine strikeouts. // Photo Luke Reed | Staff Photographer

Utica’s softball team is currently on fire, winning four straight after sweeping SUNY Morrisville and Elmira College. Over that span of games,  the Pioneers have outscored opponents by a score of 70-12. 

After starting the season at an even 5-5, Utica is now up to a 9-5 record so far on the season. Their season kicked off March 10 while they began playing games during their Florida trip. 

Utica played their first home game against SUNY Morrisville on March 29 where they won both games in blowout fashion by scores of 20-4 and 30-0. 

In the second game of the doubleheader, freshman Jennifer Rodriguez made history, hitting two grand slams in the bottom of the 2nd inning and finishing the game with 9 RBIs. Pitchers Lucia Gargiulo and Maggie Habernig combined to only give up 1 hit over 5 innings.

On Sunday, April 7, Utica began Empire 8 conference play with a doubleheader against Elmira college. For the first game, graduate student Jordan Conte took the bump where she earned her 4th victory of the season. Conte went the complete game allowing only 2 earned runs and striking out 9. Utica got the win 9-4 in the first game of the doubleheader.

The second game saw more offense as Utica picked up the win 11-4. Emily Joss and Rodriguez both had multi-hit games and 3 runs batted in the contest. Maddie Zulager cranked a two-run homer in the 2nd inning off Elmira pitcher Shelby Dawe, marking the first earned run that Dawe has given up all season

On the mound, junior Kylie Murray got the start for the Pioneers. She went 5 innings, allowing 2 earned runs and striking out two in route to her earning her 3rd win of the season. Murray currently has a 2.67 ERA on the season in 39.1 innings pitched.

When asked about the team’s early success, Murray gave most of the credit to her teammates.

“I believe the biggest reason for our early success this season is due to the depth of our team,” she said. “We can count on anyone to step in at any time and get the job done. We have a very well-rounded team of players who have all been contributors to the team’s success.”  

Murray believes that Utica can compete with any and every team in the Empire 8 this season.  

“I believe that one of our assets is that no one expects us to be as strong and talented as we are,” Murray said. “Other teams in the conference may underestimate us, so I think we will be able to go into conference play and surprise a few teams and have a lot of success in the conference.”

Freshman catcher Rachel Little had very similar views to Murray about how she feels about the team this season.

“We have very strong hitting and defense which has helped us be successful in some of the more difficult games we’ve played,” Little said. “I think we’re going to do very well in conference play, we have good team chemistry and it clicked very early on. I’m confident we’re gonna be one of the top teams in our conference this year.”

The Pioneer’s next conference matchup will be a double header against Nazareth University on Saturday, April 13.

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Nick Phillips
Nick Phillips, Sports Reporter

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