Acquaviva Scores both Runs as Softball Takes 2-1 Pitcher’s Duel over Mercer
MACON, Ga. – UNCG bounced back from Saturday’s doubleheader sweep against Mercer, taking a 2-1 victory over the Bears in a pitcher’s duel at Sikes Field Sunday.
The Spartans mustered just a pair of hits in the contest but made them count to secure the win.
“We were really focused on some adjustments today and I thought we made a few,” said head coach Janelle Breneman. “We just need to have a little bit better pitch selection and get into better hitting counts by laying off some junk early in the count. We were chasing some up pitches where we need to take those so that we’re in more of a hitter’s count.”
Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) earned her 14th win of the season in the circle, tossing a complete game with one run allowed on six hits and three walks, striking out four.
“I thought Baz really put us on her back today,” stated Breneman. “She did a great job of attacking, working ahead and keeping the ball down. Our infield is solid and Baz really relies on that. She did a nice job of working the corners and a little bit of off speed stuff. She was really just rolling grounders to our infielders.”
Emily Acquaviva (New Hartford, N.Y./Stony Brook) scored both runs for the Spartans, responding well to being moved down to the No. 8 spot in the order.
“Viva had a great game,” continued Breneman. “She was in a very similar situation today that she was in yesterday when she came up short. She stayed the course and, if anything, Viva made the biggest adjustments today and it made a big difference.”
UNCG was held hitless through the game’s first two innings but Acquaviva put a stop to that in a big way. The sophomore put a charge into a Jill McElderry offering, sending the ball cascading over the scoreboard in left field for a solo home run to put the Spartans up 1-0.
The Bears were able to tie the game in the fourth, due in large part to a few Spartan mental errors. Following a lead off single, Bazonski issued back-to-back walks to load the bases and Quirisa Mauga rushed home on Rebecca Kale’s (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) second passed ball of the frame.
The Blue and Gold didn’t take long to re-seize the advantage in the fifth, despite not registering a hit in the frame. Acquaviva led off the fifth by reaching on a throwing error by Mauga at third, advancing to second on the play. The very next pitch, Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) layed down a sacrifice bunt and the throw from Mauga again sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Acquaviva to round the bag at third and come on home.
The Bears put together a threat in the sixth as Maxine Rodriguez led off with a walk and Caroline Taylor blooped a single into right-center. However, Bazonski hunkered down and got the next three batters to slam the door shut, getting two Bears to swing for strike three.
Facing the top of the Mercer lineup in the seventh, Bazonski induced two quick outs before plunking Megan Lane. However, the Mount Everett High School product got the dangerous Mauga swinging to end the game and improve the Spartans to 4-2 in Southern Conference play.
The Spartans are back at it on Tuesday, hosting Charlotte at 5:00 p.m. in a midweek non-conference bout at the UNCG Softball Stadium.