ELON, N.C. – UNCG softball (15-7) split a pair of games against the Elon Phoenix (13-8) on Saturday afternoon at Hunt Softball Park, winning the first game 4-1 in eight innings and dropping the second game 6-4. The Spartans took the three-game weekend series after winning Friday at home 5-3.
The Spartans scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning of the first game. Leadoff hitter Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) was hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Becca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell). Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) then singled through the left side. The first run of the inning was scored on a hard line-drive hit to the second baseman by Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley), resulting in a throwing error that allowed Bryden to jog home and runners to advance to second and third base. Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) singled up the middle to knock in Overdiep. In the next at-bat Gabi Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Matthijs.
Bryden (6-1) tossed her second complete game of the season in just 81 pitches and had a perfect game broken up in the seventh inning with no outs. She set a season-high with 12 strikeouts, one off her career-high, and gave up two hits and now walks.
After six scoreless innings with just one hit, UNCG scored the first run of the game in the seventh inning. With one out Cubbage doubled down the left field line and then scored on a single by Jasmine Palmer (Cander, N.C./ Florida State) to right field.
Elon tied it up in the bottom of the inning. A RBI-double to left field produced the run. With the runner moved to third base, Bryden ended the scoring threat with a strikeout.
Overdiep was the only Spartan with two hits in the game.
UNCG scored the first run again in the next game. In the first inning, leadoff batter Overdiep singled on a bunt and Matthijs drew a walk. Both runners advanced one base on a sacrifice bunt by Sholtes. Cubbage knocked in Overdiep on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Elon took its first lead of the day in the bottom of the inning. After getting runners on second and third base with no outs, a pair of RBI-hits with a double and single afterwards scored three runs.
Cubbage cut the Spartans’ deficit to one, hitting her fourth homer of the season on the first pitch of the fourth inning.
The Phoenix added two runs in the fifth inning. After consecutive singles to start the inning, a fielder’s choice to shortstop Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) allowed the first run to score. With two outs, a single up the middle produced the other run.
UNCG brought Elon’s lead down to one again in the sixth inning. Palmer drew a leadoff walk, and pinch-hitter Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) blasted a two-run homer, her second of the year, over the left field wall with two outs.
Elon responded by getting a run in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, a RBI-single to left field scored the insurance run.
Kylie Bouplon (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) started in the circle for the Spartans and tossed 6.2 innings. Bouplon allowed six runs, 10 hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Bryden relieved her and recorded the last out.
UNCG will host North Carolina A&T next Wednesday at 5 p.m. before hosting its home tournament, the Spartan Classic, on the weekend.
-- UNCG –