Offenses paces Softball in weekend split


Dave DeLuca/The Record

Stephanie Novo went 10 for 22 with two home runs over the week.

Anthony Reyes, Associate Sports Editor

After struggling against Brockport on Tuesday, the Buffalo State softball team proved this weekend that you may be able to slow their offense down, but it surely can’t be stopped. They finished the weekend 2-2, but had 51 hits and 32 runs in four games.

They lost 6-5 and 12-9 to the rival Cortland Red Dragons on Saturday, but turned it around on Sunday and won 10-2 and 8-0 against Oswego, both five-inning games.

“I was really proud of them,” head coach Marie Curran said. “The girls really changed around their mentality. After Brockport, we had a good discussion about how the team wins and not individuals, and they really showed it this weekend that they wanted to win as a team.”

On Sunday, the Bengals jumped out to an early lead with six runs in the first two innings. Oswego plated two runs of their own in the bottom of the second, but that would be all they could get. Buffalo State would add on another two runs in the fourth and another two in the fifth to end the game after five innings.

In game two, Oswego committed five errors in the first inning and the Bengals capitalized, scoring three runs. They would hold that 3-0 lead until the fourth inning, when they increased it to 4-0. Buffalo State would then have a big four-run fifth inning to secure the 8-0 victory.

On Saturday, the Bengals had two tough losses.

In game one, Buffalo State trailed Cortland 2-0 after three innings, but answered in the top of the fourth inning to tie it, 2-2. The tie didn’t last long, though, as Cortland came out in the bottom of the fourth and racked up another four runs to jump back into the lead, 6-2. It was like punch and then counter punch; the Bengals once again answered back, scoring three runs of their own in the top of the fifth to narrow the lead to 6-5.

Neither team was able to add any more runs and the game ended 6-5.

In game two, the Bengals fell behind early, heading to the top of the fourth trailing 2-0. They were able to score six runs that inning though, and take a 6-2 lead. But after three Buffalo State errors in the bottom of the fourth, the Red Dragons jumped out to a 9-6 lead. Two more Bengal errors in the bottom of the sixth inning led to three more Cortland runs and a 12-6 score.

The Bengals rallied in the seventh inning, but ultimately couldn’t complete the comeback, losing by a score of 12-9.

“That was tough, but I was really proud, they fought to the end,” Curran said. “You’re never happy when you lose, but we didn’t feel bad at the end of it, we did some really good things against an opponent that we struggle with.”

Buffalo State made it a point to start cheering more this week and that’s something senior third basemen Taylor Swiatek felt went a long way for the Bengals.

“With the loss, it kind of hurt a little,” Swiatek said. “Because Cortland is always a rival to us, but honestly, we did lose, but it felt like we won because we were cheering; we were up the whole time, it just didn’t really go our way.”

The high-powered Bengal offense had many bright spots this weekend. Senior Kara Stein didn’t play much the previous six games but in game one versus Oswego she led the offense, going 3-for-3 with three RBIs. She had at least one RBI in all four games this weekend.

“Kara, she’s just a go-to kid,” Curran said. “Great leader, great person and we gave her an opportunity and she took full advantage of it and I was real excited for her, and for us, that we were able to get her in the lineup and she was able to produce as much as she has.”

Junior infielder Stephanie Novo kept her bat hot as well, going 9-for-16 over the weekend with two home runs, three doubles, seven RBIs and seven runs scored; an effort that earned her Buffalo State Athlete of the Week honors. Freshman Danielle Szymkowiak chipped in seven hits and five RBIs while fellow freshman Melissa Magiera hit her first collegiate home run. Swiatek added six hits and scored six runs as well.

“As a senior I really want to step up,” Swiatek said. “It makes me worried every game, because I never know when it’s my last so I always just come out and try to contribute to the game as much as I can.”

Their defense didn’t have such a great weekend, committing nine errors in the four games, but Curran felt that the errors are a product of not being able to practice outside on dirt.

The Bengal pitching bounced back in a big way on Sunday. Senior pitcher Maddie Coneys walked five batters and gave up five runs in three and 2/3 innings against Cortland Saturday. On Sunday, she pitched five strong, giving up three hits, one run, and only two walks.

Sophomore pitcher Alison Novak shined once again this weekend. She normally pitches in relief and has been strong to start the season, but on Sunday she started and went four innings, giving up just four hits and no runs.

“Alison has been coming in a lot of the games,” Curran said, “It’s really a great change of pace, she’s a very different picture than Maddie and Lexi, and today we were able to sneak out and do a little role reversal and get her to have a start and she did a pretty good job with that.”

Novak has thrown 30 innings so far this year and has given up just six runs, good for a team-leading 1.80 earned run average. She has also walked just 10 batters and struck out 17.

“Last year, I struggled a little bit, so I worked hard to come back this year and really prove myself,” Novak said.

The Bengals are now heading into the thick of their schedule. They return home for eight straight games. They start with a non-conference doubleheader versus Penn State Behrend on Wednesday, then they head into a jam-packed SUNYAC weekend, facing off against New Paltz on Friday, defending champions Oneonta on Saturday, and Geneseo on Sunday.