Posted: May 10, 2018
GENESEO, N.Y. - SUNY Geneseo takes on Mt. St. Mary in the first game of the NCAA Softball Regional, hosted by St. John Fisher in Pittsford on Friday. The Knights earned an automatic bid after winning the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship for the first time since 2002. Mt. St. Mary gained an automatic bid after winning the Skyline Conference Championship for the third-straight season.
LAST TIME OUT
Geneseo sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Kersch allowed just one earned run over seven innings as the Knights defeated Cortland, 5-1, in the final game of the SUNYAC Tournament last Sunday morning. Junior outfielder Alyssa Persich went 2-for-4 with a two-run triple while junior infielder Anna Merante went 2-for-3 with a triple and an RBI. Persich and senior outfielder Claire VanNewkirk were each named to the SUNYAC All-Tournament Team while Kersch earned Tournament MVP honors.
KNIGHTS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Geneseo has made one previous trip to the NCAA Tournament, earning a SUNYAC Championship and automatic bid in 2002. The Knights defeated Manhattanville in the NCAA Regional opener, fell to host Ithaca in their second game and defeated King's College (Pa.) in the third game. Geneseo never had an opportunity to play Ithaca for a Regional title, as rain knocked out the rest of the weekend and Ithaca advanced to the College World Series based on their head-to-head win over the Knights. Ithaca went on to win the National Championship that year.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Head coach Dave Sylvester was named SUNYAC Coach of the Year for the first time in his six-year tenure. He led the Knights to the 30-win plateau for just the fourth time in program history, and the first time since the 2002 squad went 36-6.
BRINGING THE HEAT
The Geneseo pitching staff has been one of the best in NCAA Division III this season. The Knights rank 18th in the nation with a 1.91 ERA. Sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Kersch ranks sixth in the nation with a 0.92 ERA while juniors Jasmine Petrishin and Taylor Moore carry ERAs of 2.08 and 2.33, respectively.
Geneseo has just two seniors on the roster. Outfielder Claire VanNewkirk leads the team in doubles (13), home runs (2), RBI (22) and slugging percentage (.568) while first baseman Tori Fahie leads the way with 187 putouts and has nearly doubled her batting average from last season to .339 this year.
IN THE CLUTCH
Geneseo has driven in 165 RBI on the season, including 63 RBI with two outs. Junior catcher Taylor Fedor leads the team with 13 two-out RBI while Claire VanNewkirk has driven in 12. The Knights have hit at a .310 clip with two outs this season, led by junior infielder Anna Merante, who has gone 20-for-43 (.465) with two outs.
The Knights went 4-1 to win the SUNYAC Tournament thanks in large part to their hitting. Geneseo batted .389 over the five-game stretch, led by junior outfielder Alyssa Persich, who went 9-for-20 (.450) with six RBI and four runs scored. Anna Merante went 7-for-17 (.412) with a triple and three RBI while sophomore infielder Maddison Tucker batted 6-for-15 (.400). Sophomore infielder Abbey Whitney went 4-for-6 in the tournament, including a perfect 3-for-3 as a pinch-hitter.
Geneseo has outscored opponents, 61-24, in the final three frames. The Knights are 21-0 when leading after four innings and 7-2 when tied after four innings. All four Geneseo pitchers have earned one save this year, including sophomore pitcher Ashlyn Kersch who earned her save in a 2-1 victory over New Paltz (Apr. 23). She went the final 2.1 innings without allowing a baserunner, striking out six of the seven batters she faced.
WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER
At 30-7, Geneseo has posted the third-best single-season winning percentage (.811) in program history. The Knights went 36-5 (.878) in 2002 and finished 31-7 (.806) in 1998.
WE WANT SOME MOORE
Junior pitcher Taylor Moore owns an 11-3 record in the circle this season, her second-straight season with double-digit wins. Moore ranks 10th in Geneseo history in innings pitched (252.0) tied for eighth in career wins (29), sixth in career ERA (2.42) and second in winning percentage (.744, 29-10).
TO THE BACKSTOP
Junior catcher Taylor Fedor has been the Knights' primary catcher for the past three seasons. Fedor has committed just 11 errors on 488 total chances for a .977 career fielding percentage. She has also thrown out a total of 18 runners attempting to steal, including seven runners caught stealing this year.
AGAINST THE FIELD
Geneseo has never faced Mt. St. Mary nor Immaculata. The Knights are 21-20 all-time against St. John Fisher, but have not faced the Cardinals since April 5, 2006, when they split a doubleheader in Pittsford.
Junior outfielder Danni Napoli ranks tied for sixth in Geneseo program history with 13 career home runs. Her .391 career batting average also ranks sixth in program history.
Geneseo has hit 77 doubles this season, just six shy of the program-record, led by senior outfielder Claire VanNewkirk, whose 13 doubles this season rank fourth in program history.