Softball Outduels UAB 9-8 in Home Run Showcase
KENNESAW, Ga. – UNCG needed every single one of its four home runs Sunday afternoon against UAB, earning the win in a 9-8 shootout at the Bailey Memorial Tournament at Bailey Park.
“Going into three days straight of playing pitchers are a little bit tired at that point so it usually does come down to who’s going to get the job done on defense and with the bats,” said head coach Janelle Breneman. “I thought we did a nice job getting into hitter’s counts today and we had runners on due to laying off of junk outside of the zone. Our big hits counted for multiple runs a lot of times with three of our four home runs scoring two.”
Kylie Bouplon (Wilson, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) made the start, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits and four walks. Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) earned the win in relief, tossing the final 1.2 innings and giving up two earned runs on three hits and a free pass.
The Spartans got to work right from the onset as Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) led off the game with a single through the right side and Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) followed with a walk. After Gabrielle Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) moved both runners with a sacrifice bunt, Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage) delivered a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Overdiep and put UNCG up 1-0.
The Blazers came right back in the bottom half with a pair of runs off the bat of Madison Millsaps, who hammered a Bouplon offering over the wall in left-center.
Sidney Grkman (Salisbury, N.C./Jesse Carson) tied the game at two apiece in the third, leading off the frame with a solo homer to center field.
The Spartans put their bats to work in the fourth inning, scoring four runs on a pair of two-run home runs. Emily Acquaviva (New Hartford, N.Y./Stony Brook) did the initial job, cranking a dinger past the fence in left. After a Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) walk, Rebecca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) pummeled a Claire Blount pitch down the left field line, keeping it just inside the foul pole to put UNCG up 6-2.
Millsaps, however, was up to her old tricks in the fifth to tie the game at 6-6. The junior right fielder unloaded on a Bouplon offering, tagging a no-doubt grand slam to right-center.
The Spartans reclaimed the lead in the sixth, registering just one hit in the frame. Sholtes was walked, Grkman singled up the middle and Hagan Kiser (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern) was plunked to load the bases for Cubbage, who drew an RBI walk.
After UAB started the bottom half with a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt, the Spartans made a move to the bullpen, bringing in Bazonski. The Preseason Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year snuffed out the embers the Blazers were building, producing a soft line out to short and a pop out to second.
UNCG once again used some power to give itself some insurance in the top of the seventh as Sholtes clobbered a two-run jack past the wall in left field.
The Blazers gave the Blue and Gold a scare in the bottom half of the frame with a pair of runs but Acquaviva was able to track down a deep fly in center field to grasp the third out and secure the win.
UNCG returns to action on Wednesday, hosting North Carolina at the UNCG Softball Stadium for a 5:00 p.m. showdown.