GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG softball closed out the fall season last weekend with three wins over Catawba College, UNCW and North Carolina. The Spartans finished the fall home schedule Friday night with a clean 5-0 win over Catawba, before taking both games at North Carolina. UNCG started Sunday with a 6-3 win over UNCW and a 14-6 victory over North Carolina. In the eight-game fall schedule, the Spartans finished 8-0, outscoring opponents 58-19.
In a scheduled nine-inning contest against Catawba, it took until the third inning for the Spartans to get on the board. Rachael McClaskey (Pine Hill, N.J./Overbrook) led off with a double and Jasmine Palmer (Biltmore Lake, N.C./Florida State) belted a triple to right field to put the Spartans up. Gabi Cubbage (Felton, Del./Lake Forest) added to the lead with a sacrifice fly to bring in Palmer.
UNCG got runners into position in the sixth with a Cubbage double and the seventh with a Kayleigh Willis (Virginia Beach, Va./Frank W. Cox) triple, but the offense couldn’t bring them around.
The Blue and Gold extended its lead in the ninth inning when Palmer led off with a walk and Willis tripled again to bring her in. Also in the ninth, Jordan Gontram (Wake Forest, N.C./Heritage) was hit by a pitch and came around to score on a wild pitch.
In the circle, Alicia Bazonski (Sheffield, Mass./Mount Everett) started and tossed two hitless innings, allowing one base runner on a walk. Stephanie Bryden (Orlando, Fla./East River) followed with another two hitless innings, striking out two hitters and issuing a walk.
Mackenzie Winslow (Mooresville, N.C./Lake Norman) was next out of the bullpen, logging three innings, allowing one hit and a walk. Hannah Stiltner (Megan, N.C./Eastern Alamance) tossed the final two innings, striking out two hitters. In total, Spartan pitching allowed just one hit to the Catawba College Indians through nine innings.
Sunday started with a 6-3 victory over the UNCW Seahawks in Chapel Hill. UNCG got on the board courtesy of the long ball in the first inning. Back-to-back singles from Cubbage and Willis set the table for Gontram who hammered a home run to put the Spartans up 3-0 early.
In the second inning, Becca Kale (Hudson, N.C./South Caldwell) drew a walk and scored after Makenna Matthijs (Greenville, N.C./D.H. Conley) and Palmer connected on back-to-back single to add an insurance run.
Kale again got a rally going in the fourth inning drawing another walk. Matthijs doubled to move her to third before Palmer hit a sacrifice fly to bring her in and increase the Spartan lead. UNCG added another insurance run in the seventh. McClaskey singled and came around to score courtesy of a sacrifice fly from Matthijs.
Bryden got the start in the circle, striking out three hitters and allowing just one hit in four innings. Stiltner came on in relief, tossing the fifth and sixth innings, striking out a hitter and giving up a pair of hits. Winslow closed the game out with a clean ninth, getting a pair of groundouts and a line drive out.
In the final game of the fall season, the Spartans offense erupted for the most runs of the fall season against a North Carolina team that finished 2017 40-21 and qualified for the NCAA Oxford Regional, hosted by Ole Miss.
After falling behind 5-0 in the second, UNCG batted around to score nine runs, all with two outs to take the lead. Kale started the rally with a single to left followed a bunt single from Alexis Overdiep (Apex, N.C./Apex) and a Palmer walk to load the bases for Cubbage. Cubbage clubbed a grand slam to left field to get UNCG back in the game at 5-4. Willis reignited the rally with a single up the middle and came around on another long ball, this one off the bat of Gontram. Marissa Sholtes (Albany, N.Y./South Colonie Central) kept the rally going with a single and the bases were loaded after a McClaskey walk and a Matthijs single. Kale singled again to drive in one with Overdiep doubling to give the Spartans the 9-5 lead.
Overdiep started another rally in the fifth as she reached via walk, and Palmer was in midseason form after reaching on another hit-by-pitch. After a sacrifice bunt moved both into scoring position, Willis hammered a three-run homer to right center. Gontram and Sholtes took advantage of a pair of walks before Matthijs singled to bring in two more and put the Spartans up 14-5.
Kylie Bouplon (Winston-Salem, N.C./Forsyth Country Day) got the start in the circle. The sophomore gave up seven hits and five runs in 3.0 innings. Bouplon and the defense struggled early as the Tar Heels first three hitters reached on bunt singles. Bazonski entered in relief, working in the fourth and fifth innings. She allowed two hits, but did not allow a run in her outing. Winslow worked in the sixth inning, allowing one run. Bryden closed the game out, allowing a hit but no runs.