ATHENS, Ga. – UNCG softball (13-3) won both of its games on Friday afternoon in the opening day of the Ninth Annual Bulldog Classic at Jack Turner Stadium, defeating Jacksonville State (6-9) 3-2 (nine innings) and Radford (10-5) 6-2.

In the first game of the day tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) got on base with a leadoff walk and went to second base on a wild pitch with one out. After a groundout moved Sholtes to third, she scored on a fielding error by the shortstop on a grounder by Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) to give the win to the Spartans.

The Gamecocks had tied the game up in the seventh inning. After a leadoff double off the left center wall and a single up the middle, a RBI-single through the right side produced the run. A sacrifice bunt then moved runners over to second and third base. Becca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) picked off the runner on third, and a line out to second baseman Jasmine Palmer (Cander, N.C./ Florida State) ended the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh inning the Spartans put runners on second and third base with two outs. Sholtes singled up the middle and Palmer doubled to left center, but a fly out to deep center field ended the scoring threat.

UNCG had another chance to walk off with the win the next inning. With two outs Bryden drew a walk, and Overdiep singled through the middle. A fly out to right field ended the inning.

UNCG scored the first run of the game in the second inning. Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) and Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage) walked with two outs. Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) singled up the middle to knock in McClaskey.

The Spartans doubled their lead in the fourth inning. Gontram singled to center field with one out and then went to third base with two outs on a bunt single in front of the pitcher by Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex). Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley) brought home Gontram on a single to center.

Jacksonville State got on the board in the sixth inning with a RBI-double to right center.

Bryden (5-1) recorded all 27 outs for the Spartans. She gave up seven hits, two earned runs and no walks with 12 strikeouts, just one off her career-high. At the plate she went 2-3 with a RBI and walk.

Overdiep was the only other Spartan to have two hits in the game.

UNCG scored the first run of the following game in the bottom of the first inning. Overdiep led off with a single to the shortstop but was out at second afterwards on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt by Matthijs. After a fielder’s choice by Sholtes got Matthijs out at second, Gabi Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) singled to center field. Palmer loaded the bases with a walk, and Willis was hit by a pitch to allow Sholtes to jog home for the run.

Radford tied the game up the following inning on a RBI-single through the right side. With the bases still loaded with one out, starting pitcher Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

The Spartans took back the lead in the bottom of the inning. Kale and Overdiep went to second and third base with one out on consecutive errors by the shortstop. Matthijs knocked in both runners with a single up the middle.

The Highlanders scored their second run in the third inning. With runners on the corners, a botched rundown after a grounder to third base allowed the runner to score.

UNCG increased its lead with a run in the fifth inning. Palmer doubled with a shot off the center field wall, and a fielding error by the second baseman on a grounder by Willis allowed Palmer to go to third. Gontram hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Palmer.

The Spartans added two insurance runs in the sixth inning. Overdiep led off with a single to the shortstop and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Matthijs. Sholtes knocked her in with a double to right center. Cubbage singled to center field, and Sholtes crossed home plate before a line out double play. 

Bazonski (6-1) threw her third complete game of the season, allowing seven hits, one earned run and three walks with seven strikeouts. She threw four scoreless innings to end the game with just one hit given up.

Overdiep went 2-3 with two runs, and Cubbage and Palmer also had two hits each. Sholtes had two runs in addition to her RBI-double.

UNCG will face Radford again on Saturday in the first of two-straight games starting at 10:30 a.m. UNCG will face the host school of the tournament No. 14/14 Georgia in its second game. 

-- UNCG –