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Fordham Softball's Season Ends with Third Place Finish in Salt Lake City Regional

Release: 05/20/2017
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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference
Salt Lake City, Utah – The Fordham softball team's 2017 season came to an end on Friday evening under the lights of Utah's Dumke Family Stadium, falling to the nationally-ranked Cougars of BYU, 12-1, in five innings. The game, the second elimination contest of the day, was made possible because Fordham had defeated and eliminated Mississippi State, 9-3, earlier in the afternoon. The Rams finish their campaign with a 46-17 overall record and 1-2 record in the Salt Lake City regional.
 
Fordham and Madie Aughinbaugh fell behind quickly in the first inning against the Bulldogs, 1-0, but the freshman hurler battled back and kept the SEC power off the board until a two-run sixth, keeping Mississippi State at bay as the Rams put up identical four-spots in the third and fourth frames to take a commanding lead.
 
Another record was broken in the sixth inning as Madi Shaw drove in Aughinbaugh from second with a single to right field, setting a new program record with 74 RBIs this year, breaking a tie with Elise Fortier's 2013 mark. After a 1-2-3 first, the Rams nearly got on the board in the second, with Skylar Johnstonleading off with a single to left, Amy Van Hoven whipping a single up the middle with one out, and Lauren Quense beating out an infield single to load the bases. However, Mississippi State starter Alexis Silkwood worked out of the jam with a strikeout and groundout.
 
The Rams broke through the next inning, though, with the top of the order leading off. Sydney Canessawalked on four pitches and the bases were loaded quickly on Jessica Hughes' full-count single to center and Shaw's walk. Johnston beat out an infield single to tie the game up at one-apiece and Lindsay Mayerdrove in two with a single the opposite way. Quense walked with one out to re-load the bases and another infield single, this time by Chelsea Skrepenak, helped plate the go-ahead run, 4-1.
 
Aughinbaugh and the Rams had some luck in the bottom half of the inning after Reggie Harrison, who had driven in her team's first run with a RBI double, doubled again off the right field wall but took an aggressive turn around second base and was tagged out by Mayer in between bases. With two outs now, a groundout was all that was needed to get out of the jam.
 
Fordham put the game out of reach with four more runs in the fourth, all with two outs. Johnston extended the inning with her third straight hit, a single up the middle, and Mayer walked in a 10-pitch at bat. Van Hoven smashed a double into the left centerfield gap to score the pair and would come around to score on Aughinbaugh's bases load infield single, putting the Rams up, 7-1. Canessa worked an eight-pitch walk to plate an eighth run while also becoming the third Ram ever to reach 40 walks in a single campaign.
 
BYU had lost in walk-off fashion to the hosts in the day's first contest to set up the do-or-die dusk match-up. The Rams switched over to the third base dugout as the game's home team but the Cougars took advantage of a controversial call at home plate with two outs in the first inning to strike first, plating two more runs for a 3-0 lead after half an inning of play. With two outs and a runner on second, Skrepenak's throw to home seemingly tagged the runner out to end the inning but she was ruled safe and the Cougars added two more before the final out.
 
BYU walked twice in the second but Ally Vergona gunned out the leadoff hitter trying to steal second and Quense was able to work out of the jam. However, the Cougars pounced in the third, plating eight runs on six hits and two walks. Fordham got its lone run on the board in the third on a booming Sydney Canessahustle triple to the left centerfield gap, scoring Skrepenak, who had walked to begin the frame.
 
The Rams finish the season walking more than striking out (269 to 262) and having set program records for batting average (.310), RBIs (351), runs scored (387), total bases (801), walks (269), and on-base percentage (.409). The squad also ended up with the second-most at bats (1,698), third-most doubles (90), stolen bases (85), and the third-highest slugging percentage (.472).
 
Nine different individual records have also been matched or broken this year, including Canessa's program record number of runs scored, 193, Shaw's 74 RBIs, and Jess Hughes' terrific sophomore campaign in which she scored 64 runs, walked 53 times, and held a .510 on-base percentage, the first Ram to carry one above .500 at season's end. Canessa, already holding two single-game records for runs scored (five) and hit by pitches (three), set a new school record with six hits in a record-setting 23-8 win at St. Bonaventure on April 19.
 
Seniors Canessa and Van Hoven finish their careers fourth and fifth, respectively, with 247 and 245 career hits, with the latter also becoming the fifth Ram to reach 700 career at bats and finishing in the top-five in several other categories, including batting average, runs, doubles, triples, and stolen bases. Canessa solidifies herself as one of the most durable and consistent performers ever to don a Fordham uniform, finishing in the top-10 of 15 separate all-time categories, and playing every inning of all 237 contests since stepping foot in the Bronx. Her 237 starts are tied for second-most ever with Lindsay Kay Bright and her 237 games played are tied for fourth with Jamie LaBovick. Her final walk on Friday also tied Krystle Henry for second all-time with 111, three shy of current assistant coach Gabby Luety's record. Lindsay Mayerends her Fordham tenure having started 181 straight contests and amassing 188 hits over just three seasons, tallying a personal-best 67 as a senior.
 
Eight different Rams this year walked more than they struck out and four recorded 32 or more, all in the top-10 all-time for a single season. The 2017 squad blew past previous records for walks and on-base percentage as a result, finishing fourth in the country with 269. Four different Rams recorded at least 66 hits, a program first, and three reached 51 or more runs scored, too. Six different players doubled at least nine times, with five totaling 11 or more.
 
Aughinbaugh's 18 wins is the second-most for a freshman in school history, joining former All-American Jen Mineau's 2009 tally. The rookie ends her season with an even 2.00 ERA to go with her 18-5 record across 32 appearances and 21 starts. Lauren Quense finishes a spectacular senior campaign with a 22-11 record, 2.49 ERA, and 18 complete games across 37 starts.
 
The squad has earned 26 accolades this season, between end-of-season Atlantic 10 honors, All-Championship awards, National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region accolades, and CoSIDA Academic All-District, as well.
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