Bengals battle to .500 late in season


Dave DeLuca/ The Record

Senior Stephanie Novo has three runs and three RBIs in the last four games. She and the Bengals have won seven of their last 10 games.

Jahvon Graham, Reporter

It’s been an uphill battle all season long for the Buffalo State softball team. After getting off to a slow start, they’ve finally reached .500 by winning seven of their last 10 ballgames. Their hitting has finally come around and they’ve coupled it with stellar pitching. Over the last six games, the Bengals have average 6.33 runs and only three runs allowed.

On Saturday, the Bengals hosted Fredonia for a double header. The Bengals exploded for 16 hits, scoring six runs in the third inning and five runs in the fourth in game one. The five-inning contest ended with a score of 13-3.

Senior second baseman Stephanie Novo and sophomore infielder Danielle Szymkowiak both homered in the game. Senior pitcher Lexi Haley went three for four at the plate with an RBI.

“I think timely hitting has gotten us back into a better groove,” said Novo. “We’re slowly getting hotter and hotter with hitting.”

In game two, the Bengals received solid pitching and good hitting, but couldn’t score enough runs. Buffalo State banged out 12 hits but could only manage to score two runs and took the loss, 3-2.

Senior pitcher Jordan Sarat took the loss while giving up one earned run. The defense wasn’t sharp, giving up three errors in game two and five total on the day. Haley continued her hot hitting streak, going three for four with another RBI.

On Sunday, Buffalo State hosted Potsdam in a double header. The Bengals won game one 7-4 and took game two 7-0.

In game one, senior outfielder Chrissy Rennard and sophomore utility player Melissa Woods both went two for three with two RBIs. Sarat pitched 4 and 2/3 innings and was credited with the win, but left with an injury. Sophomore Nicole Adams pitched in relief of Sarat and allowed only one hit.

Haley dominated in game two, going the distance to collect her 11th win. Both Haley and freshman infielder Julia Blujus went two for three at the plate. Blujus also collected two stolen bases. Chrissy Rennard brought home three RBI’s while junior outfielder Laura Crooks scored three times.

Plattsburgh was next on the schedule for the Bengals and they had their ace back on the mound in game one. The Bengals won game one behind Haley, 4-1. Haley pitched a five-hitter and allowed no earned runs. Stephanie Novo cracked a solo homerun, but credited Haley for the win.

“It’s fun playing behind any of our pitchers when they are throwing like Lexi,” said Novo. “It gives us all the confidence when the pitchers are doing well, and that confidence translates to our offense as well, which is a big help.”

The Bengals found themselves down 4-0 late in game two. They battled back to take a 5-4 lead after some timely hitting. In the midst of the rally, Stahl left the game with an ankle injury.

“Well, I rolled my ankle over first base and right now it feels like a bad sprain,” said Stahl. “I’m not sure how Friday is looking until I get my X-rays back.”

Plattsburgh tied the game up at five and took the game to extra innings. Plattsburg took the lead, 7-5, in the top of the eighth inning. In the bottom of the frame, the Bengals had the bases loaded with one out, but couldn’t capitalize and lost, 7-5. Szymkowiak and Crooks both had big offensive games, going three for four.

The Bengals record sits even at 16-16 (6-8 SUNYAC). The playoffs are fast approaching with 6 games left in the season.

“Well, at this point it’s really important to be playing good ball,” said Stahl. “We screwed ourselves over by losing too many games to start the season out, so we need to win every game from here on out.”

A doubleheader against Rochester for Tuesday was cancelled due to bad weather, so the Bengals only have six games left in the regular season. The Bengals will make the trip to Geneseo and Brockport for doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday before returning home to host Ithaca on May 1.