Zemaitis Matches Career-High with 12 Strikeouts, Ravens Grab First Conference Victory at AIC

Cyrena Zemaitis (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)
Cyrena Zemaitis (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (March 24, 2019) – Franklin Pierce University softball sophomore pitcher Cyrena Zemaitis (Goshen, Conn.) struck out a career-best 12 batters as the Ravens rolled to a 3-1 game one win during a Northeast-10 Conference doubleheader at American International College Sunday afternoon. AIC bested the Ravens 3-2 in game two. The 1-1 day sends FPU to 5-11 overall and 1-1 NE10 and the Yellow Jackets go to 2-10, 1-3 NE10.

Freshman first baseman Cat Simmons (Pine Plains, N.Y.) combined to go 2-for-5 in both battles with a double, her third round-tripper of the year, three RBI, two walks and one run scored producing most of the offense for Pierce.

Game One: Ravens 3, Yellow Jackets 1 (Final)

Zemaitis took the bump in game one and tossed her sixth complete game of the season moving to 5-4 on the young season. She matched personal-best punching out a season-high 12 batters scattering five hits and one walk.

Third baseman Ashley Conway (Salem, N.H.) was 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and one run scored. Leftfielder Maiah Lopez (Oxnard, Calif.) went 2-for-3 with a double, a stolen base and one run scored. FPU ran wild on the bases amassing three steals, one by Lopez, centerfielder Gina Hinckley (Lancaster, Mass.) and second baseman Jess Rego (Richmond, R.I.).

Kacie Allison started for the hosts in the first game hurling seven frames allowing three earned runs on nine hits and four walks. Third baseman Victoria Andrade accounted for the only run with a 1-for-3 solo moonshot performance.

The Ravens scored twice in the top of the first inning giving Zemaitis the early advantage. Rego ripped a one-out single to left field and stole second base with Conway at the dish. The theft of second was the key play of the inning as Conway slapped a two-out base knock down the right field line to plate Rego putting the Ravens in front 1-0. The next batter, Hinckley was hit by a pitch, which put runners at first and second with two down. Designated player Lexi Garcia (Sylmar, Calif.) followed singling up the middle driving home Conway from second expanding the Pierce lead to 2-0 in the early stages.

The Ravens threatened in the top of the third having runners at second and third with two away, but could not cross the plate keeping the margin at 2-0. Pierce tacked on an important insurance run in the top of the sixth. Lopez rifled a double down the right field line advancing shortstop Ashley Rosario (Queensbury, N.Y.) to third base who reached via a free pass. Backstop Allie Martinez (Upland, Calif.) followed with a walk of her own to load the bases with one away. Rego went to the plate and grounded into a fielder's choice, a pitcher to catcher putout keeping the bases juiced for Simmons. Simmons worked the third walk of the inning to bring in Lopez increasing the score to 3-0 Ravens. Allison danced out of danger when Conway popped up to her in the circle ending the scoring threat.

Zemaitis allowed two hits over the course of the first two innings and then shut down the Yellow Jackets over the next 3.2 innings until a solo two-out bomb in the bottom of the sixth by Andrade helped AIC crack the scoring column at 3-1.  

Game Two: Yellow Jackets 3, Ravens 2 (Final)

Simmons provided the lone offense for the Ravens producing a 2-for-4 one homer, two RBI and a double effort to go along with one run scored. Rego and right fielder Caitlyn Munzing (Beverly, Mass.) also supplied two hits each for the Crimson and Grey. Munzing added two steals on the base paths for FPU.

Righthander, senior Sabrina LoMonaco (Franklin, Mass.) took the circle for the second game which was her first start of the year.  She lasted 3.2 innings allowing three unearned runs on four hits and sent down three batters via strikeout. Lefty Amelia Mamone (Averill Park, N.Y.) came on in relief and threw 2.1 scoreless frames.

For AIC, designated player Brianna Rivera carried the hosts on offense with a 2-for-3 double and RBI effort. Ariana DiCioccio threw 6.1 innings and gave up seven hits and three walks. Olivia Gonzalez snared her first save retiring two Ravens in the top of the seventh.

The Ravens jumped on DiCoccio in the early stages of the showdown. Martinez drew a leadoff walk, moved up a couple of feet to second base via a sacrifice bunt. Simmons then deposited a two-run tater over the left centerfield fence to give the Ravens a 2-0 lead.

LoMonaco allowed no hits until the third inning, but the Yellow Jackets could not get a runner to cross the plate. Pierce still held a 2-0 advantage heading into the bottom of the fourth when AIC exploded for three runs. A fielding miscue by the Raven center fielder with one out put a runner on first base. The next batter, shortstop Mackenzie Aleva reached first after a fielder's choice that yielded no outs. Rivera doubled to center field, which scored a run cutting the deficit to 2-1. Ashley Hughes gave the hosts the lead for good when she grounded out to second base plating Aleva and Rivera on a throwing error. Mamone replaced LoMonaco in the circle and retired the next batter.

The Ravens looked to tie the game in the top of the fifth as Rego singled to left center with one away and Simmons doubled into the right-centerfield gap putting runners in scoring position. However, the Yellow Jackets danced out of danger inducing a groundout to short and a foul out to right field.

FPU had one more chance in the top of the seventh placing the tying run on first with one out. Rego singled up the middle then Gonzalez came on to relieve DiCoccio to pitch to Simmons. The Raven rookie promptly lined out to short and Conway grounded out to third to end the game.

The Ravens will play a four-game road trip starting this Friday, March 29th with their only duel against Southern New Hampshire University at 4:00 p.m.

For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://fpuravens.com). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce softball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://fpuravens.com). You can also follow the softball team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FPUSoftball_) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/fpu_ravens_softball).