CONWAY, S.C. – UNCG softball (2-1) split a doubleheader in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic on Saturday at CCU Softball Stadium, falling to the host school Coastal Carolina (3-0) 2-1 and then defeating Saint Francis (Pa.) (2-2) 9-8. The Spartans rallied in the final inning against the Red Flash, scoring two runs for the comeback and walk off hit.
After giving up six-straight runs with a 7-2 lead against Saint Francis (Pa.), UNCG started its rally with one out when Emily Acquaviva (New Hartford, N.Y./Stony Brook) reached on a fielding error by the shortstop. Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) was hit by a pitch, and Becca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) also got hit by a pitch to load the bases. An error on a fielder’s choice from Jasmine Palmer (Cander, N.C./ Florida State) allowed Acquaviva to score that tied the game up. Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley) ended the game with a walk off single to right field that knocked in Overdiep.
Saint Francis took the lead with two three-run homers in the fourth and fifth innings.
After giving up two unearned runs to start the game, the Spartans responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs Gabi Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) walked and Marisa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) singled to right field. Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) scored Cubbage with a double to left field. Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) then cleared the bases with a home run to right field.
UNCG scored three runs in the third inning. Cubbage and Sholtes both drew walks to begin the inning. An error on a single down the left field line by Willis allowed Cubbage to score. McClaskey loaded the bases when she was hit by a pitch, and with one out pinch-hitter Melanie Darges (Raleigh, N.C./Athens Drive Magnet) singled in Sholtes. Palmer was hit by a pitch with two outs that allowed Willis to jog home for the final run of the inning.
Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief with six strikeouts, one walk and no hits for her first win of the season. Hannah Stiltner (Mebane, N.C./ Eastern Alamance) made her first collegiate start and allowed five hits, seven runs (five earned) and three walks with three strikeouts in 4.1 innings pitched.
Willis had a game-high three hits and a team-high three RBIs in four at-bats along with two runs. Sholtes went 2-3 with a walk and two runs.
The first game of the day for UNCG had much less offense in it, as the Spartans and Chanticleers combined for just five hits. All three runs were scored on a homer to left center each by both squads.
Coastal Carolina took the lead in the fourth inning on a two-run shot with two outs.
Sholtes gave UNCG the initial lead with a leadoff home run in the second inning, her third of the opening weekend. The Spartans then loaded the bases with three walks, but the inning ended with a line out to the shortstop.
UNCG had only one other hit, drew seven walks and left seven runners on base.
The Spartans were able to get a runner in scoring position in the sixth inning. Sholtes led off with a walk and went to second on a single by Willis. Three UNCG batters then struck out in a row to end the threat.
Sholtes reached base all three times at the plate with two walks, and Acuaviva also had two walks in the game.
Starting pitcher Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) threw five innings and allowed three hits, two runs and three walks with five strikeouts. Bryden pitched one scoreless inning of relief with two walks and two strikeouts.
UNCG closes out the tournament with Iowa State on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
-- UNCG --