Softball Opens “Fall Ball” Season with Pair of Wins in Rock Hill
ROCK HILL, S.C. – After what has seemed like an eternity, UNCG softball returned to the clay for competition outside of intra-squad scrimmages on Saturday. The Spartans got off to a good start, earning a pair of victories over Winthrop and Appalachian State at the Terry Softball Complex.
In the first game of the day, the Blue and Gold twice erased a one-run deficit to secure a 3-2 victory over the host Eagles. Kylie Bouplon (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) received the win after completing six innings, while Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) registered a save after closing out the seventh.
After Winthrop grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Jasmine Palmer (Biltmore Lake, N.C./Florida State) reached on a walk and advanced to third before coming home on a Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) fielder’s choice.
The Eagles regained the lead in the second but once again it was Willis who would have the last laugh. The rising sophomore crushed a two-run dinger to left, plating Palmer, who had previously reached on a hit-by-pitch.
The offense wasn’t the only part of the Spartans’ game to provide highlights. Freshman Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley) displayed a veteran-like arm from her spot in left field, hosing a runner at third base on a ball hit to the wall.
In the later game, the Spartans came back from a 2-0 deficit to earn the victory over App State, with Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) tossing a complete game to earn the win. Bazonski allowed just three hits in the contest while striking out three.
UNCG used some late game magic to complete the comeback. Entering the sixth trailing by a pair of runs, rising sophomore Willis led things off by reaching on an error and was moved to third on a double to right-center by fellow second-year player Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage).
Freshman Melanie Darges (Raleigh, N.C./Athens Drive Magnet) brought both runs home to tie the game with a pinch-hit single up the middle. Following a Rebecca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) HBP, freshman Matthijs singled to center to score Darges and snag the lead for the Spartans. Palmer rounded out the scoring in the frame with a well placed squeeze bunt, scratching across Darges to double the Spartan advantage.
With a lead in hand, Bazonski closed things out to complete the Saturday sweep for UNCG.
The Spartans return to Rock Hill this weekend, taking on Winthrop and Wingate on Saturday at the Terry Softball Complex.