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The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

The Student News Site of Iona University

The Ionian

Softball off to rocky start after two southern showdowns

Photo courtesy of Ionagaels.com. Haywood leads the Gaels in both AVG (.400) and SLG (.700).

The Iona University softball team opened up their 2024 regular season with nine games across two tournaments.  

First up was the 2024 North Carolina State Tournament, which lasted from Feb. 24-25. Iona was supposed to suit up against North Carolina State University on Feb. 23, but the outing was canceled due to weather.  

Iona’s season-opener instead came versus Appalachian State University, where the Mountaineers used a three-run first inning, two-run second and additional runs in the fourth and seventh to win 7-0. The Gaels could only muster five hits in the shutout.  

Next on deck was the State University of New York at Albany, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Rookie MJ Nicholson answered with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second, while senior Kaylin Flukey tied the game with an RBI single.  

The Great Danes posed a threat with three runs in the top of the fourth, but Iona once again bounced back with a five-run barrage.  

Senior Kayla Haywood’s line drive single brought things to a 9-9 tie in the fifth, before Flukey stepped up to the plate and delivered a three-run walk-off homer to give Iona a 12-9 victory.  

Each of Flukey, Haywood and senior Jamie Sheeran registered multi-hit efforts in a 10-7 rematch loss against UAlbany the following day. Maddy Lowry and Samantha Rieb totaled six innings but failed to strike out any opposing hitters.  

Iona fell to Cleveland State University later that day, with their only hit over the final three innings being an RBI single by Sheeran in the 3-1 loss.  

Iona softball participated in the 2024 Chanticleer Showdown, which began on March 1 and showcased four games over a three-day span.  

The Gaels squared up with the Michigan State Spartans to begin the weekend, sending Alyssa DeJianne to the hill as the starting pitcher. DeJianne let up seven earned runs in her 5.1 innings of work before giving way to Lowry, who struck out both of her opponents.  

Iona put up just three hits in the scorebook, a tough afternoon at the plate that was caused by a season-high 12 strikeouts.  

The 4:30 p.m. game with Oakland University was canceled because of inclement weather, allowing the Gaels to get some rest before playing Yale University on March 2 at 9 a.m.  

Sophomore Hannah Werth started the game with a single and was immediately brought in to score by Emma Capuano on a double. The two teams flip-flopped leads, and several key defensive plays – one notably being on a stolen base attempt by the Bulldogs – were made by the Gaels to keep the score tied at 3-3 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. 

Werth bunted Alivia Lichtner to third base to start the inning, and Capuano hit a sacrifice fly to win it, 4-3.  

The softball team’s affair with Coastal Carolina University was more of a pitcher’s duel, as DeJianne didn’t allow an earned run to the Chanticleers over six innings. The opponents did, however, score on a throwing error in the bottom of the sixth, winning 1-0.  

Capuano and Nicholson combined to go 4-for-6 versus Michigan State, but a pair of doubles and a sacrifice fly helped the Spartans put up seven runs (compared to Iona’s two), on the board.  

Iona owns a 2-6 through their first eight games and will travel to Nashville, Tenn., for two doubleheaders each against Lipscomb University and Belmont University.  

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Robert Hughes, Sports Editor

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