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Szymkowiak leads Softball in sweep over Plattsburgh

Francis Boeck, Managing/Sports Editor

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The SUNY Buffalo State softball team overcame four-run innings in both games of their doubleheader as they swept the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals 5-4 and 7-4 on Saturday.

Behind senior Danielle Szymkowiak’s five hits and strong defensive play, the Bengals showed resiliency throughout the day as they pulled out the SUNYAC sweep.

“She’s the best hitter on our team,” Buffalo State coach Jamie Brown said of Symkowiak. “I want her up when in we’re in situations when there are runners on base because I know she’ll come through. She’s clutch.”

Marissa Hayes pitched all 14 innings, 12 of which were scoreless, for the Bengals. Haynes threw three strikeouts and gave up three earned runs in the first game. In the second, she had two strikeouts and her defense helped to secure 11 groundouts.

In the first game, shortstop Julia Blujus lead the way going two for three with a walk and scored three runs.

Buffalo State’s Hannah Dunlap got the first hit of the day on a single. After stealing second, Dunlap came home on a hit from Abijah Adams to give the Bengals the 1-0 at the end of the first inning.

The Cardinals took advantage of an error and took a 4-1 lead in the top of the third. Anna Fischer was walked and later got to third when the throw from a ground ball off the bat of Felicia Torres was off the mark. Dominique Zummo brought them both home on a single.

Jennifer Groat and Jackie Decker had back-to-back RBI doubles to end the half of the inning.

The Bengals responded back in the next half inning, cutting the Plattsburgh lead to two as Adams drove in Blujus to end the third.

Buffalo State tied the game in the forth as Dunlap and Szymkowiak got back-to-back RBI hits.

In the sixth, Dunlap drove in Blujus for the game-winning run.

Szymkowiak made a strong play to help protect the Bengal lead in the top of the seventh.

Buff State gave up back-to-back hits and the Cardinals had two runners on when Decker hit a fly out to deep center. Symkowiak made the out and then fired the ball to home to get Zummo in time for the double play and prevent the tying run.

“We’ve been trying to find our team identity,” Symkowiak said. “Now we’ve realized it’s to fight. We have the heart. That really drives us.”

The Bengals were helped in the second game with big pops from local products Szymkowiak and Nicole Adams, who hit solo home runs in the first and second innings respectively.

Szymkowiak continued her success at the plate going three for three with a walk and scored a run.

After Nicole Adams’ home run, Justine Sliva hit an RBI double, bringing home Cassie O’Hern.

In the third, Abijah Adams got an RBI single to extend the Buffalo State lead to 4-0.

Plattsburgh tied the game in the fourth after tying the bases. The Bengals gave up their first run on an error on the catcher. Then Shannon Myles hit a two-RBI double. Zummo later came home on a sacrifice fly.

Szymkowiak scored the game-winning run in the fifth inning after getting on base with a double. The senior stole third and came home on a sacrifice fly from O’Hern.

In the sixth, it was Szymkowiak again hitting a two-RBI double for the game-sealing runs.

The pair of victories also gives the Bengals a big bolster in the SUNYAC standings, as they entered the day tied with Plattsburgh for sixth place in the league.

Despite the standings, the Bengals approach every game the same way according to Brown.

“Every game is important,” Brown said. “They know it’s important because every game is important.”

 

Danielle Szymkowiak post-game:

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Szymkowiak leads Softball in sweep over Plattsburgh