Rowan softball is quite familiar with series sweeps.
Just about every week they experience one, but they seldom are on the losing side of the sweep. On Saturday, though, the unfamiliarity of being swept was experienced by the Profs when the William Paterson Pioneers came to Glassboro and took both games, 2-3 and 3-7.
“It looks worse than it really was,” said head coach Kim Wilson. “I think they were both well played games.”
The veteran head coach lauded her team’s effort on defense, one of the weaker points of their game this season. But Rowan’s other season-long struggle, getting key hits, came back in their doubleheader with the Pioneers.
“We played very good defense, the only problem was we didn’t have key hits when we should have,” said sophomore shortstop and team captain Carly Anderson.
During the last couple sets of games leading up to their bout with William Paterson – who is one spot ahead of the Profs in the New Jersey Athletic Conference standings – it looked as if Rowan had gotten back on track with timely hitting. Unfortunately, the nightmare came back on Saturday.
In the two games, the brown and gold left a combined 10 runners on base and went down 1-2-3 in seven separate innings.
“I think we did not have our best offensive performance,” Wilson said. “I don’t think it was their pitching, I think it was our approach to the at bats. There were times we should have been more patient, and other times we should have attacked earlier in the count.”
As is the case with nearly all the games the Profs lose, the game was never fully controlled by the Pioneers. The fight they’ve exhibited all season was on display against William Paterson.
In the front end of the doubleheader, Rowan was down 3-0 going into the fourth inning with their offense looking doomed to find a big hit. Then, their resilience shined through, and even though they lost, there was a grittiness in that two-run fourth inning proving how tough a defeat the Profs are.
“We’re starting to play with more confidence, and coming together and using the heart that we have,” Anderson said. “Even if we’re down we’re able to use the heart we have and fight as much as we can.”
That heart was duplicated in the second game when an 8th inning grand slam by the Pioneers put the Profs in a precarious position, putting them down five runs. They couldn’t muster enough to snatch the win, but Rowan put two runs on the board and scraped some confidence to roll into their final two sets of games.
“I’m proud of the kids for stepping up,” Wilson said. “They could have folded at that point, and I thought they showed heart and guts to score a couple runs.”
The two losses knocked the Profs into third place in the NJAC, but even before the season started, players on the team were saying their rank in the conference didn’t matter as long as they make the conference tournament, which takes the top six teams.
Due to the rain on Tuesday their double header with Rutgers-Newark was pushed back to Thursday. The Scarlet Raiders sit near the bottom of the conference, and should be a good bounce back for the Profs.
“I think our pitching and hitting should be good, especially after losing two [games] the kids are ready to go and take charge,” Wilson said.
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