UTICA, N.Y. -- Sophomore Erica Colucci threw her first career no-hitter to lift Utica to a 2-0 win in the second game of an Empire 8 Conference double-header against Alfred on Monday. With the win, the Pioneers clinch the No. 4 seed in the Empire 8 Conference tournament this weekend. UC dropped the first game of the day to the Saxons 2-0 before rebounding in the second outing.
The Pioneers, who advance to the Empire 8 Tournament for the second year in a row, will now take on host and top-seeded Ithaca in the first game of the tournament on Friday.
Game 1 -- Alfred 2, Utica 0
After three scoreless innings, Alfred was able to break the deadlock in the top of the fourth after a sacrifice fly from Nora Passuite to score Nicole Maher. The Saxons then added an insurance run in the sixth off a Utica error to take a 2-0 lead. The Pioneers threatened, but were unable to plate a run as they dropped the 2-0 decision.
Alison Wickwire gave up just four hits in seven innings for her 12th win of the year, while Abby Monroe struck out six in the loss. Meghan Matan, Cassie Smith, Kassidy Ogren, and Taylor Ellis all recorded hits for Utica.
Game 2 -- Utica 2, Alfred 0
The Saxons entered the game leading the nation with a .396 team batting average; however Colucci was lights out in the circle as she had four strikeouts and allowed just three base runners to lead the Pioneers. The only runs of the game were scored in the first inning as junior Courtney Fitzgerald crushed a two-run double to right field, scoring Chelsea Monroe and Christy Traglia. That was all Colucci would need as she hardly let anything out of the infield.
Fitzgerald and Kassidy Ogren were each 2-for-3, while Traglia was 2-for-4. Chelsea Monroe, Abby Monroe, and Taylor Ellis also had hits for the Pioneers, and Traglia picked up her seventh stolen base of the year in the win. Katelyn Jakobsen shouldered the loss, her first of the season, for Alfred after giving up nine hits in five innings of work.
Utica moves to 21-10 on the year and 6-6 in the conference after splitting each Empire 8 series this season. The Saxons (24-8, 7-5 Empire 8) meanwhile take the No. 3 seed and will face No. 2 Stevens Institute.