Courtesy: Fairfield University

Softball Begins Play In MAAC Tournament Wednesday

Courtesy: Fairfield University
May 09, 2017

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- After 48 games overall and 20 conference games, Fairfield University is one of six Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) softball teams still playing. The Stags will join Iona, Siena, Marist, Manhattan, and Monmouth for the 2017 MAAC Softball Championship Tournament, which will be hosted by top-seeded Iona beginning Wednesday morning.

Fairfield has the distinction of playing the first game of the championship, taking on third-seeded Marist College at 11 am in New Rochelle. The two teams met earlier in the year and ended up with a split. The sixth-seeded Stags received a strong pitching performance from Karisa Hughen to earn the split as the sophomore scattered eight hits in a 4-1 victory.

Hughen and Destinee Pallotto have been the cornerstones of the Fairfield pitching rotation this season with Pallotto winning a staff high 10 games and Hughen tacking on eight wins. Hughen has won six of her last eight decisions while Pallotto has been the workhorse by tossing a team-best 131 innings. Her best performance came against tournament participant Monmouth, tossing a 12-inning complete-game 1-0 shutout against the Hawks.

While the pitching staff has done a good job at keeping the opponents' bats in check for most of the season, the Stags offense has been very supportive by providing almost four runs per game. At the heart of the team's offensive success are senior Tori Reed and sophomore Courtney Hankins. The two student-athletes have combined for 20 doubles, seven home runs, and 64 RBI. Hankins leads the team with 34 RBI and nine doubles, while Reed has a team-best four homers and a co-leading two triples to her credit. 

While Hankins and Reed are second and third on the team with .350 and .322 batting averages respectively, freshman Amanda Ulzheimer has held the top hitting percentage for most of the season. The outfielder currently owns a .357 batting average, which ranks among the MAAC's top ten hitters and represents the top batting average by any freshman in the conference.

Following Wednesday's game, Fairfield will play again on Thursday in the double-elimination tournament. The winner of Fairfield-Marist will play second-seeded Siena on Thursday morning with first pitch slated for 9 am. The loser of the Fairfield-Marist game will play at 4:30 pm on Thursday against a team to be determined.

For complete tournament coverage, visit the MAAC championship central web page.

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