NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Iona College softball program capped off senior day winning game two 1-0, earning itself at least a share of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship. Prior to the doubleheader beginning against Manhattan, Head Coach Melissa Inouye and her staff honored student manager Lauren Filardi, Kelsey Long, Ashlyn Morris, Katie Newton and Kristen Turner for their four years of service to the Maroon & Gold program.
Game One: Manhattan 7, Iona 1
Jasper rookie pitcher Nicole Williams outdueled the three-time MAAC Pitcher of the Week, sophomore Alana Evans in game one. Williams went seven innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits and three walks. She struck out 10 of the 27 batters she faced.
Iona got hits from Morris and sophomore right fielder Marisa Gergel atop the order, and sophomore second basemen Haley Thompson picked up a single from the eight hole.
Evans went 6.2 innings, allowing seven total runs, but only two of which were earned. She struck out seven batters and allowed four hits; it was seven free passes and two wild pitches that allowed Manhattan to cross the place seven times.
Sophomore Lauren Pitney was a thorn in the side of the Maroon & Gold all afternoon. She hit a long home run to left center in the top of the second inning to give the Jaspers an early 1-0 lead. Pitney hit a second round-tripper in the top of the seventh, capping off the Jaspers offense in game one; her home run came one pitch after the Gaels allowed a playable foul ball to drop in.
Iona's lone run came in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Newton. Gergel cross the plate as an unearned run after a pass ball had allowed her to get into scoring position.
Manhattan converted .417 (5-12) on its advancement opportunities compared to just .200 (2-10) for the Maroon & Gold.
Game Two: Iona 1, Manhattan 0
With MAAC Regular Season crown hopes, and aspirations of the number one seed in the championship tournament on the line, freshman Marnie Skinner stepped up in a big way. The rookie dominated in the circle, going seven shutout innings, holding the Jaspers to just one hit.
Skinner faced just two batters above the minimum, inducing a balanced eight fly outs and seven ground outs. The lone hit from the Jaspers came courtesy of their centerfielder, sophomore Alexa Dawid in the fourth inning.
Iona scored the lone run needed in the third inning. Turner came through with two outs by looping and RBI single to right field, allowing Morris to cross the plate. The three-time MAAC First Team selection had a team-high two hits, and is now just three shy of breaking the all-time program record.
Thompson continued to stay hot with a pair of base-knocks in a trio of at-bats.
Courtesy of the win, Iona has clinched at least a share of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Regular Season title for the first time since 2011. That year the Maroon & Gold won their second of three straight MAAC Tournament crowns.
The Gaels have an opportunity to host the MAAC Tournament. If the Siena Saints split its doubleheader against Niagara on Monday, May 8, then the road to the NCAA Tournament goes through New Rochelle, NY. If the Saints sweep the Purple Eagles, Iona will travel to Albany, NY looking to capture their fifth MAAC championship.