ST. DAVIDS, Pa. --- The No. 7 Moravian College softball team swept its ninth straight doubleheader with victories of 6-1 and 8-0 in six innings in non-conference action at Eastern University Thursday as the squad became the fastest in school history to 30 wins, now with a 30-2 record on the year.
The Greyhounds, who now have registered 18 30-win seasons under the direction of 24-year Head Coach John Byrne, surpassed the 2004 team that needed 33 games to reach 30 victories on the way to a 40-6 campaign and a runner-up finish at the 2004 NCAA Division III World Series. The 2004 squad dropped the season opener before a 29-game winning streak and reaching the No. 1 spot in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 Poll. That team lost twice to William Paterson University before winning its 30th game. The current squad is ranked seventh in the latest NFCA Top 25 Poll and is fourth in the Atlantic Region in the first NCAA Division III Regional Rankings of 2017 released Thursday afternoon.
The Hounds collected 25 hits in the doubleheader at Eastern with 14 coming in the first game as senior first baseman Abby Jeffries and junior catcher Janae Matos each went 3-for-4 with doubles and Jeffries contributing two RBIs and Matos adding one. Senior left fielder Julie Siragusa was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and a homer while sophomore center fielder Kat Spilman was also 2-fo-4.
Junior Josie Novak improved to 14-2 in the circle as she allowed three hits to go with five strikeouts in five innings of action while freshman Paige Lesher tossed the last two innings with a run on two hits to go with one strikeout.
Moravian jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the opener. Siragusa reached on an error to start the game, and Spilman singled with one out before Jeffries connected on a two-RBI double to right center field. Matos then hit her team-leading 20th double of the season to drive in Jeffries.
The Greyhounds extended the lead to 4-0 in the top of the second inning when Siragusa ripped a 1-1 pitch over the fence in center field for her first home run of the season and the fifth of her career. The Blue and Grey tacked on a run in the top of the sixth inning when sophomore second baseman Julia DeMarco singled and scored on an RBI single off of Siragusa's bat.
Moravian also scored once in the top of the seventh frame when freshman pinch hitter Colleen McCoy hit an RBI fielder's choice to score freshman pinch runner Taylor Herman. Eastern would score once in the bottom of the seventh.
The Hounds kept the bats hot in the second game with 11 more hits. Matos was 2-for-2 with two RBIs and another double as she tied Siragusa's school record with 21 doubles in a season set last spring. Jeffries was 2-for-3 with two RBIs while Siragusa and senior catcher Niki Maffettone were both 2-for-4 with Maffettone driving in a pair of runs. Sophomore third baseman Madison Shaneberger connected on her second home run of the season in the win.
Junior Amanda Carisone picked up her 16th victory of the season in the circle with a hit and five strikeouts in four innings of action while Lesher tossed the final two innings with a hit and a strikeout.
Siragusa led off the second game with a single and scored on an RBI single by Jeffries. Spilman, who had drawn a walk, would come home on an RBI single by Maffettone as Moravian took a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
The Greyhounds scored three times in the fourth inning to push the advantage to 5-0. Spilman reached on an error with two outs before Jeffries ripped an RBI double down the right field line. Matos followed with her record-tying double that chased Herman, who had come into run for Jeffries, across the plate, and Maffettone finished the inning with an RBI single as Matos scored.
Moravian added two runs in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Matos to plate sophomore shortstop Kaela Kane and a passed ball that allowed Spilman to score. The hit by Matos was the 100th of her career as she became the 44th player in program history to reach the milestone. The Hounds would reach the NCAA eight-run rule in the sixth frame when Shaneberger connected on a solo homer, to left field with two outs. It was her second home run of the season and fifth of her career.
The Greyhounds are scheduled to return to action on Saturday, April 22 when they host The College of Staten Island in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Blue & Grey Field in Bethlehem.