Montclair State sweeps pair versus Centenary (N.J.) to set win-streak record
MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- Senior center fielder Jamie Paulino, junior second baseman Katie Muglia and junior third baseman Dana Amato each homered in the opener and junior right-hander Alison Cullen picked up a victory and drove in two in the nightcap as top-ranked Montclair State upped its record to 30-0, sweeping Centenary (N.J.) 6-1 and 4-2 at the MSU Softball Stadium.
Junior right-hander Alex Hill allowed two hits and struck out 11, improving to 23-0 on the year as Montclair set a record for the longest winning streak in its athletic history. The Red Hawks, off to the best start in program history, surpassed the previous mark of 29 consecutive wins set by the women’s basketball team this past season.
Hill recorded her 15th double-digit strikeout performance this season as she allowed two singles in six innings of work. Roxanne Keelan took the loss falling to 5-8.
MSU got on the board in the bottom of the first as Paulino belted the ninth pitch of the game from Kellan over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead. It was the second day in a row that Paulino homered as she also collected one in the Red Hawks’ sweep of New Jersey City on Tuesday.
Hill made that one-run lead hold up as she retired the first nine hitters before the Cyclones (11-11) got a lead to start the fourth inning.
The Red Hawks then broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning. Muglia plated two with one swing of the bat as she too homered for a consecutive day with two outs. Jaclyn Allegretta kept the inning going with a base hit and Paulino walked before Amato blasted a three-run shot for a 6-0 MSU advantage.
Centenary broke the shutout in the seventh as Samantha Belmonte singled home a run.
Melany Zeller had two hits for Montclair State while Cara Montferrat was 2-for-3 for Centenary.
In the second contest, the Cyclones grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Montferrat led off with a double and scored as Katie Ciecwisz singled down the left field line.
Montclair came back to take the lead in the second scoring four times. Zeller singled to drive in the first run and Kelli O'Brien doubled in another for a 2-0 lead. Cullen helped her own cause with a two-run triple as the Red Hawks took a 4-1 lead.
Centenary threatened in the third as Keelan doubled to left center. One runner scored on the play, cutting the deficit to 4-2, however a perfect relay from Paulino to Allegretta to catcher Alisha Cumberton nailed the second runner coming home to end the inning.
Cullen (7-0) went the first four innings, allowing five hits with a strikeout. Hill came on to record a three-inning save, her fourth of the season and one shy of her own single-season record. It is also the fourth time this year that Hill has picked up a win and a save in a doubleheader.