MONTCLAIR, N.J. (4/30/16) – Junior pitcher Shannon McMahon of the Kean University softball team fired her seventh shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over Montclair State to catapult the Cougars up the standings and send Kean into the NJAC playoffs on the final day of the regular season on Saturday.
Kean topped the Red Hawks 9-1 in six innings in the first game of the day.
Coming into action on Saturday, the Cougars were two games out of a playoff spot with two games to play. They needed a sweep of Montclair and either a Stockton sweep of William Paterson or a loss by Rutgers-Camden against NJCU. The Ospreys downed WPU 4-0 in both games to help Kean snatch a playoff spot from the Pioneers.
The Cougars scored twice in the first inning of the day; Olivia Zengel and Emily Sabo reached base and were both brought home on an RBI single by Samantha Krakower. In the third inning, Dana Knapp slugged her ninth homerun of the season: a three-run shot on the heels of a MacKenzie Valeriani double that made the score6-0.
Tiffany Varriello, Krakower and Knapp added RBIs later in the game to give kean an eight-run cushion and send the contest to an early conclusion.
Kean starter Kiele Eichlin threw a complete game and allowed just one run to score – a leadoff walk in the first inning. After that, only one more Red Hawk got as far as third base in the game. She scattered seven hits and struck out four in six innings of work.
In game two, McMahon dueled with Brittany Powers, trading zeroes over the first five innings of the matchup. McMahon had three 1-2-3 innings in the game, and Powers allowed just two baserunners in the first five innings.
McMahon struck out three Red Hawks in the game and allowed just four total hits.
Kean senior Tonianne DeMatteo started the game's only rally with a single through the left side in the sixth. Zengel and Sabo both singled to move her to third. With one out, a passed ball allowed DeMatteo (pictured lefft) to scamper home with the game's only run. Powers got out of the jam without further scoring, but the damage was done.
In the seventh, Montclair had a leadoff single to bring the winning run to the plate, but Krakower turned a line-drive into a double play at shortstop. McMahon got the final batter to strike out swinging to win the game for the Cougars and clinch an improbable climb up the standings on the seasons' final day.
Montclair is now 20-18 and 4-14 in the NJAC. The Cougars are all-even: 20-20 overall and 9-9 in the league.
The Cougars will await their fate in the NJAC tournament. Depending on other results from around the conference, they may have earned the fifth or sixth seed in the six-team NJAC Championship Tournament beginning on Tuesday. Check back with KeanAthletics.com for the latest schedule updates.