GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG softball split a pair of games in the first day of the Eastern Michigan Madeira Beach Spring Invitational on Friday afternoon at Rec Center Fields 2 and 3, defeating Massachusetts 5-2 and then falling 5-2 to Ohio.
After the Minutewomen scored a run each in the first two innings, UNCG scored all five of its runs against Massachusetts in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Spartans loaded the bases with no outs as Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) led off with a walk, Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) singled to third base and Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) drew another walk. Emily Acquaviva’s (New Hartford, N.Y./Stony Brook) sacrifice fly knocked in Sholtes. Becca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) then loaded the bases again with a single. A pinch-hitting Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage) hit a grand slam, the first of the year for UNCG, in her first at-bat of the season.
Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) pitched five scoreless innings of relief to pick up her second win on the year. Bryden struck out eight batters, gave up just one hit and one walk, and didn’t allow a runner into scoring position for the last four innings.
Kylie Bouplon (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) started in the circle and allowed two runs, two hits and three walks.
Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley) was the only batter to record two hits in the game.
Right after the first game UNCG faced Ohio. With two scoreless innings to start the game, the Spartans took the first lead. With one out Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) singled to center field and went to second base after Matthijs walked. Gabi Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) then loaded the bases with a single up the middle. A wild pitch with two outs allowed Overdiep to race home to score.
Ohio tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning on a leadoff home run to right center.
The Spartans retook the lead the following inning. Overdiep started the inning with a walk and went to second on a sac bunt by Matthijs. With two outs Sholtes doubled to left field to knock in Overdiep.
The Bobcats scored three of their four unanswered runs to end the game in the bottom of the inning. A wild pitch with the bases loaded followed by a single up the middle scored the first two runs. A walk with the bases loaded again produced the third run.
Ohio benefited from wild pitches in the sixth inning to score another run. After a leadoff double, two wild pitches in different at-bats added the insurance run.
The Spartans put runners on first and second base after two singles in the seventh inning, but a strikeout ended the rally attempt.
Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) started in the circle and returned in relief. Bazonski threw five innings and gave up one run, two hits and one walk with two strikeouts. Bryden was handed the loss and allowed three runs, four hits and no walks with a strikeout. Hannah Stiltner (Mebane, N.C./ Eastern Alamance) recorded one out and gave up a run, one hit and a walk.
Overdiep and Sholtes both went 2-3 in the game, and Matthijs drew two walks along with two sacrifice bunts that moved Overdiep to second base.
The Spartans will play two games against on Saturday in the tournament. UNCG will face UMKC at 11 a.m. and then Virginia at 4 p.m.
-- UNCG --