Bomb Squad: Softball Showcases Its Power at UNCG Invitational
GREENSBORO, N.C.- UNCG softball showed off its affection for the long ball on Saturday, clobbering five home runs on the way to a pair of victories over George Washington and Longwood at the UNCG Invitational at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
“We started out a little slow in Game One,” said head coach Janelle Breneman. “I thought we were trying to be a little too careful and too cautious. And then we started to be more aggressive and really being committed to pitches, taking good hacks. We definitely have the ability one though nine to drive the ball with gap power as well as home run power, which was nice to see today.”
In the early game against George Washington, the Spartans fought back from an early deficit for a 6-2 victory. Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) earned the win in relief, tossing two and two-thirds innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits and striking out one.
UNCG registered just four hits in the game but supplemented by drawing five walks. Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) was the lone Spartan to registered multiple hits, stealing two bases and scoring a run.
Kylie Bouplon (Wilson, N.C./Forsyth County Day) made the start in the circle, allowing a pair of runs on two hits in the first inning. From there, the freshman settled down and went another three and one-thirds innings, holding GW off of the scoreboard.
While the UNCG bats stayed quiet much of the game, they came alive in the sixth. Freshman Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) registered the first hit of the game for the Blue and Gold, following a Tory Wright (Potomac Falls, Va./Dominion) walk with a homer to straight away center field.
Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) gave UNCG the lead with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Overdiep from third. Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage) plated two more runs with a double, scoring Jasmine Palmer (Lake Biltmore, N.C./Florida State) and Gabrielle Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest). Gontram came around to score the final run of the inning shortly after on an error at second base.
The Spartans returned to the clay 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game, taking down Longwood 7-2 under the lights at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
Bazonski again earned the win, moving to 5-2 on the year after pitching a complete game, surrendering four hits and two runs, one earned.
The Spartans jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first in loud fashion. With two away in the inning, Cubbage plowed a Elizabeth McCarthy offering, doinking a dinger off of the scoreboard in left field.
The Lancers grabbed the lead in the fifth after Bazonski gave up a long ball to left field following an error at second base by Palmer.
That lead, though, didn’t last long. Acquaviva jumped all over the first pitch of the bottom half of the inning, clobbering a homer past the wall in right. Rebecca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) followed with a walk, coming home on a McClaskey double to left field.
UNCG tacked on four in the sixth on another pair of towering shots. Sholtes led off the frame by tattoing a pitch and sending the ball within ear shot of the folks at Fleming Gymnasium enjoying men’s basketball’s victory over VMI. A few batters later, Willis pinch hit for the second time and once again flexed her muscle, unloading a three-run homer to give the Spartans a commanding lead.
“It’s tough coming off of the bench and not seeing many pitches,” said Breneman of Willis’ pinch hitting performance. “Kayleigh does a really nice job, she works her but off in practice. She knows that she’s probably going to get a nod during the game so she’s a really being a student of the game when she’s on the bench. She had a really nice day, I’m happy for her.”
With a sizeable lead in hand, Bazonski came out to close out the victory, collecting the final three outs.
UNCG returns to the UNCG Softball Stadium on Sunday, taking on George Washington at 1:30 p.m. and Longwood at 4 p.m.