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COLUMBIA, S.C. – UNC Greensboro softball (4-5) won both of its games to conclude the Gamecock Invitational Saturday afternoon at Beckham Field, defeating Ohio 4-3 (4-3) in eight innings and St. John’s (3-4) 8-4.

In the bottom of the eighth inning against Ohio, Gabi Howard reached base with one out on a fielding error by the pitcher. With Kamryn Graves entering as a pinch-runner, she reached second base on a single to centerfield by Jordan Gontram. Melanie Darges delivered the game-winning hit with an RBI-double to left center.

Entering in relief with one out in the fifth inning, Stephanie Bryden (4-3) retired eighth-straight batters along with a strikeout to earn the win.

The Spartans scored the game’s first three runs against Ohio in the bottom of the first inning. Makenna Matthijs drew a leadoff walk, and Gabi Howard got an infield single with two outs. Jordan Gontram then hit a three-run homer, her first of the year, over the left field pole.

After St. John’s scored the first run of the game in the top of the first inning, UNCG responded with three runs the next inning to take the lead. Howard led off with a single through the left side and went to second base on a one-out single to right field by Darges. Delaney Cumbie was hit by a pitch with two outs, and on a full count Jasmine Palmer knocked in the tying run with an RBI-single through the left side. Matthijs then brought home two runners on a single to centerfield.

The Spartans added another run in the next inning on back-to-back doubles by Howard and Gontram.

UNCG scored four runs in the fifth inning. After a leadoff single to left field by Gontram, Marisa Sholtes knocked her in with a double to left center. Howard then hit her second homer of the year to left field. The final run came on an RBI-single by Cumbie, her first collegiate hit and RBI.

The Red Storm threatened in the sixth inning. After the bases were loaded with no outs on a single and two walks, another walk produced a run. Hannah Stiltner entered the circle and produced the first out on a fly out to centerfield. After a sac fly to left field, a groundout to second baseman Darges ended the scoring threat.

Stiltner recorded six-straight outs to end the game.

UNCG has its home-opener Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Oakland to kick off a seven-game homestand.

News and Notes

- Bryden also got the win against St. John’s, allowing six hits, four runs and three walks with six strikeouts.

- Kylie Bouplon started against Ohio and went 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits, one earned run and three walks with five strikeouts.

- Six Spartans recorded more than one hit. Gabi Howard led the way, going 4-8 with three runs and two RBI’s.

- Gontram finished 3-7 with four RBI’s and a walk.

- Bryden, Darges, Matthijs and Sholtes were the other Spartans with two hits.

- The win against Ohio was the first extra-inning game of the season and second walk-off win (11-10 over UNCW last Saturday).

- The Spartans recorded at least 10 hits for the second game of the year, also versus the Seahawks.

-- UNCG –