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GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG softball (22-7, 1-0) used four unanswered runs to defeat the Furman Paladins (24-7, 0-1) 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday at UNCG Softball Stadium. The second game was called off due to inclement weather, and there will now be a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 1 p.m. to complete the Southern Conference opening weekend series for both teams.

After Furman scored the game’s first run in the third inning on a RBI-single through the left side, UNCG tied and scored the game-winning run in the next inning. Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) led off with a single through the right side, went to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Gabi Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) and scored on a double to centerfield by Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley). Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) then reached base on a fielding error by the pitcher. With two outs Becca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) dropped a single into centerfield to bring home Matthijs.

The Spartans added two insurance runs in the sixth inning. Bryden led off with a double that bounced off the centerfield fence. With two outs Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) belted her fourth homer of the season to right field and third in the last two games on the first pitch she saw.

The Paladins had the go-ahead run at the plate the next inning. After a walk and hit by pitch with no outs, Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) entered the circle. On two-straight pitches she got fielder’s choices to get the lead runner out at third base. After the bases became loaded on another hit by pitch, a pop out to second baseman Jasmine Palmer (Cander, N.C./ Florida State) ended the game.

Bryden (8-1) started the game in the circle for UNCG and gave up one run, five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in six innings. Bazonski earned her first save of the year with the scoreless seventh inning.

Bryden and McClaskey were the only Spartans with multiple hits on the day, both going 2-3 at the plate. McClaskey’s other hit was a one-out double that landed on the left field line in the third inning.

-- UNCG –