New Paltz Hawks Secure Spot in SUNYAC Final

By Amy Whitman

NEW PALTZ — The Hawks are on to the championship.

After a clutch win over the Cortland Red Dragons Saturday, the State University of New York at New Paltz remains undefeated going into day three of the SUNYAC tournament.

“We knew we had to bring it our all,” said Hawks captain Kelly Marmorowski. “We knew that Cortland is a very good team, so we were zoning our pitches and making good contact at bat.”

Lindsay Roman pitched seven innings in the circle. The senior finished the game with two strikeouts and kept Cortland to only four hits. Having already surpassed 300 career strikeouts and topped the record for all-time program wins the previous afternoon, Roman is headed into day three on a roll as she has only let up two runs and 15 hits while having struck out seven batters in 15.1 innings pitched.

“When I turn around in the circle, I look at Lauren Serrao and I’m like ‘I got this’,” Roman said. “I just have to be confident out there and do what I know how to do.”

The first offensive opportunity for the Red Dragons came in the third inning. With one out on the board, Jaycee Filancia approached a turbulent bunt and lasered it to Jillian Shelbourne on first to secure the second out. The visitors got one to drop in center field, but could not go further after a ground-out ended the threat.

At the bottom of the third, SUNY New Paltz broke the Red Dragons infield after two no-hit innings. Rhionna Bianchini nailed one in the gap along the first base line, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Isabella Shepherd which landed Bianchini on second. Lauren Serrao hit to the near side of the infield to put herself on first, which was followed by a Filancia walk to load the bases.

Jackie Rometo came through and knocked one to third so Bianchini could come home. Rometo was tagged out on fielder’s choice, and Cortland nearly completed the double play, but Bianchini skillfully slid into home to etch the Hawks’ first run of the game on the scoreboard.

The bottom of the fourth boasted a similar opportunity for the hosts with all bases loaded, but two outs already on the board. Filancia was up to the plate and soon connected on a pitch after two strikes, but SUNY New Paltz’s momentum was diminished as Filancia’s hit was caught in center field, which ended the fourth inning.

Roman and the Hawks’ fielding easily shut down Cortland for the fifth and sixth innings, as they allowed zero hits for the visitors. Although they stood strong defensively, the game was not yet won, as they only held a slight 1-0 lead.

Marmorowski stepped up to the plate to start the sixth inning. After two quick strikes on the count, the senior was under pressure from Cortland’s pitcher. But it was not too much to handle, as on the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Marmorowski ripped one to left field, the hit soared over the back fence and dropped out of the park for a home run.

“I was already out of the dugout before the ball went over the fence because I knew it was over,” said Roman. “We were all screaming and jumping and it’s just really fun when Kelly hits a home run because it’s a ‘Kelly Bomb.’”

The run gave SUNY New Paltz a comfortable 2-0 lead into the seventh and Marmorowski her fourth home run of the year.

“I was honestly the best feeling ever and I don’t think I’ve ever ran the bases faster for a home run,” said Marmorowski. “I was behind in the count so I was happy that I was able to zone a pitch that was a strike and not chase and I was also really happy I was able to do that for my team.”

Defensively the Hawks closed the seventh, and the game, with three put-outs in a row. Although a low-scoring contest, SUNY New Paltz had success sprinkled throughout. Besides Marmorowski’s homer, Shepherd and Serrao earned hits during all their at-bats, going 2-for-2 and 3-for-3, respectively. Serrao and Shelbourne led defensively with six put-outs a piece.

The victory leads them into the championship game with a safety net, as the Hawks cannot be eliminated in just one game.

“It was crucial going into tomorrow with no losses because that means the team that plays us tomorrow has to beat us twice to win the championship,” said Roman. “We have no pressure going into the first game and we can play loose, which is when we play the best.”

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