Alyssa Taylor tosses back-to-back shutouts as Manhattanville sweeps
PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Senior Alyssa Taylor was dominant in the circle once again for Manhattanville on Tuesday afternoon, as the righthander scattered nine hits in posting 14 consecutive scoreless innings to lead the Valiants to a doubleheader sweep of King's (Pa.) 3-0 and 5-0 in Freedom Conference action at Manhattanville Field.
One day after earning Freedom Conference Pitcher of the Week honors, Taylor backed up that claim with the first back-to-back shutouts of her career. Only three King's players saw third base all day against the senior, who struck out nine against an offense that entered today averaging over seven runs per game.
The back-to-back shutouts are the first time Manhattanville (7-6, 3-0 Freedom) has done that to a conference foe since 4-0 and 2-0 victories against Arcadia on April 12, 2008. For Taylor, it's the first time a Valiant hurler posted shutouts in both ends of a doubleheader since Maggie Thomas blanked Mount St. Mary twice in April 10, 2006.
Taylor was the only player the Valiants needed in game one, as she tossed a four-hit shutout and also swatted a two-run homer to lead Manhattanville to a 3-0 victory.
Taylor (5-5) picked up her fourth consecutive win by scattering four hits and stranding 10 runners on base in the complete-game shutout. She also went 2 for 3 with two RBI and a run scored at the plate. By homering for the fourth consecutive game, she also moved into a tie for second place all-time in Division III for consecutive games with a long ball, trailing only the five consecutive from former teammate Jessica Van Galen between April 14-21, 2012.
Classmate Shauna Mulkerin also homered for the Valiants, while junior Rosaria Callara and freshman Shelbee Damianos both has two hits as well for the home team.
The first run of the game came in the bottom of the second, off the bat of Mulkerin. After getting the count to 2-2, the senior fouled off three pitches to stay alive before lacing a Rachel Linso offering over the centerfield fence for her second homer of the year, giving the home team a 1-0 lead after two.
Manhattanville got two more in the third inning, again coming courtesy of the long ball. Damianos led off with a walk to set the table for Taylor, who launched her fourth homer of the season over the fence to give her team a three-run edge.
King's (11-7, 2-4 Freedom) had chances seemingly all game long against Taylor, but the righthander continually got the right pitch at the right time to escape. She left the bases loaded in both the first and sixth innings, including a big strikeout looking of Lisa Alley with three on in the sixth.
Game 2 was more of the same for Taylor and the Valiants, as Manhattanville received some timely hits from its batters and some timely outs from its pitcher to complete the sweep with a 5-0 win.
Taylor again was the story, this time scattering five hits and striking out four in another complete-game effort. She was helped out at the plate by sophomore Alyx Scapperotti and freshman Brittany Deieso, who both had two hits and drove in two.
The turning point of the second game turned out to be in the second inning, when Taylor got out of a huge jam by retiring three straight with the bases loaded to keep the game scoreless. After two singles and a walk started the inning for King's, she got a strikeout of Nicolette Pizzo and an infield fly from Alley before blowing away Kelsie Senchak to escape the inning unharmed.
The Valiants scraped together a run in the third inning when Callara drove a ball off the glove of first baseman Amy Kowalczyk and into left field, scoring Taylor. After Taylor secured the lead with another zero in the fourth, Manhattanville got two big insurance runs in the bottom half, when Deieso lined a ball under the glove of Senchak in right field for a two-run triple.
Manhattanville got a little more insurance in the fifth thanks to another clutch two-out hit, this time a single off the bat of Scapperotti that gave the Valiants a 5-0 lead headed into the Lady Monarchs' last at-bat.
After the first two reached in the final frame, Taylor got a strikeout before Callara made a diving catch in short right-center to start a game-ending double play, putting an emphatic end to an impressive day.