CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – UNCG scored early and often in Saturday's doubleheader against Chattanooga, sweeping the Lady Mocs on a hot afternoon at Jim Frost Stadium.
Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) made the start in Game One, tossing her second shutout of the year. The righty held UTC off the board and allowed just three hits, striking out a pair.
The Spartans opened scoring with a pair of runs in the first despite not registering a hit. After a Jasmine Palmer (Lake Biltmore, N.C./Florida State) hit-by-pitch and Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) walk, Gabrielle Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) laid down a sacrifice bunt. Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) and Sidney Grkman (Salisbury, N.C./Jesse Carson) also wore HBP's, allowing Palmer to trot home. Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) followed with an RBI groundout to short, plating Overdiep.
After a couple of scorless frames, UNCG went back to work to add to its lead in the fourth. Back-to-back walks by Rebecca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) and pinch-hitter Danielle Bieberle (Winter Haven, Fla./Auburndale) opened the inning, with both advancing on a wild pitch. Palmer also walked to fill the bases for pinch hitter Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox), who blooped an RBI single into center field to score Kale. Cubbage scored two more with a double to left and Sholtes walked to re-load the bases.
With nowhere to put her, Grkman was hit by a pitch, allowing Willis to come home. McClaskey finished up the scoring in the inning, ripping a single into left field to bring Cubbage around and bring the score to 7-0.
The Spartans broke the game open further with three runs in the fifth. Pinch hitter Tory Wright (Potomac Falls, Va./Dominion) got the fun started by drilling a double to center and Palmer followed with a nearly identical two-bagger to bring Wright home. After an Overdiep bunt single, the speedy right fielder swiped second and the throw sailed into the outfield, allowing Palmer to scoot home. Cubbage placed a picture-perfect grounder down the first-base line, spinning the ball into fair territory for an RBI-single, plating Overdiep.
With the run-rule in effect, Bazonski held the Lady Mocs off the board in the bottom half, closing out her 16th win of the season.
Kylie Bouplon (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) took to the circle in the later game, earning the win after allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits over her 3.1 innings of work. Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) threw 1.2 innings of relief, surrendering two hits.
The Spartans made quick work of starting pitcher Elizabeth Novelli, chasing her after just six batters faced. Palmer led off with a walk and Overdiep followed with an infield single, setting the stage for a towering three-run blast to center field by Sholtes. Grkman and McClaskey followed with singles to bring an end to Novelli's day and Kale registered a single of her own off of new pitcher Celie Hudson. Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage) brought Grkman home with a fielder's choice to short before Emily Acquaviva (New Hartford, N.Y./Stony Brook) smacked a two bagger off of the wall in left to put UNCG up 6-0 after the first half inning.
After the Lady Mocs got a run back in the bottom half of the first, UNCG came back with three more runs in the second. Overdiep laced a single up the middle and Sholtes drew a walk before Grkman moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt. McClaskey made the move pay off, singling up the middle and advancing to second as both runners came home. Kale skied a pop up but the ball got caught up in the wind and the UTC shortstop was unable to make the play as McClaskey scored on the error.
In the third, Palmer knocked a single to right and Overdiep walked to lead off the inning before Sholtes ripped a single to center, bringing Palmer home. Grkman recorded a sacrifice fly as Moc left fielder Amy Lewis made a diving play in foul territory, giving Overdiep ample time to come home. Next up was McClaskey, who singled through the left side to score Sholtes. Following Kale & Gontram walks, Acquaviva's cue shot to the hot corner gobbled up Moc third baseman Brook Womack and McClaskey scored on the error.
Overdiep led off the fourth with a single and Cubbage walked before Grkman was plunked to load the bases. McClaskey snuck an RBI single between the UTC third baseman and shortstop, sending Overdiep across and pinch hitter Wright delivered an RBI groundout to first, plating Cubbage, increasing the Spartan lead to 15-1.
The Lady Mocs scored six runs in the fourth to close the gap to 15-7 but by then it was too little, too late as UNCG closed out the game in five innings.
The Spartans will return to Jim Frost Stadium on Sunday to complete the series, taking on Chattanooga at 2:00 p.m.