Pitcher Madison Strunk allowed just two hits on Sunday afternoon as the Pirates shut out Hartford 8-0 at Mike Sheppard Sr. Field. The Pirates had the bats going in this one, however, they got on the board using their base running in the second inning. With runners on first and third, the Pirates executed a picture perfect double steal that brought Valerie Suto home from third to put the Pirates up 1-0. [caption id="attachment_18285" align="aligncenter" width="1440"] Photo via SHU Athletics[/caption] It was in the third inning when the Pirate offense started to flex its muscles. The Pirates put six runs on the board on seven hits to increase the lead to 7-0. The Pirates added one more in the fourth inning on a RBI single from Suto. The Pirates had solid play on both sides of the ball, as Suto, along with Destini Peck, Brianna Wallace and Ragen Reddick all finished with two hits on the day. Hartford was just the opposite, as it committed four errors on defense, which extended innings and allowed the Pirate offense to take advantage. “When we have eight runs in the fifth inning, you’re kind of like ‘okay come out in the fifth and just shut it out,’” Strunk said after her outing. “Our offense has been hot for the past couple weekends and it’s a great feeling as a pitcher to have them produce so you feel more at ease.” Head coach Paige Smith was pleased to see Strunk perform at such a high level on Sunday. “I finally saw the Maddie Strunk of last year,” Smith said. “She’s been struggling a little bit and it was nice to see her get out with her Maddie swag.” The win is the fourth in a row for the Pirates, coming on the heels of a rough appearance at the Aggie Invitational on the campus of UC Davis in California. In that invitational, the Pirates went 1-5 and were shut out in two of those games. “After a rough trip to California, I really thought it was important to play this weekend,” Smith said. Smith also thanked those who helped clear the fields allowing for the team to play this weekend. “It felt really good,” Strunk said about playing at home for the first time this season. “The energy from our fans and our team was just awesome. I had my mom and my stepdad out there so it was really nice.” The Pirates homestand continues next weekend, as they will open Big East play against the Villanova Wildcats with a doubleheader next Saturday. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. Matt Ambrose can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @mambrose97.
Strunk shuts down Hartford in 8-0 victory