GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team picked up right where they left off from last season, earning two victories over the weekend against in-state rival Charlotte, 9-1, and 7-5 in fall exhibition play.
“I was pleased with our team’s first fall test,” said head coach Janelle Breneman. “Our pitching staff complimented each other well and for the most part kept hitters off balance. Defensively we are becoming fundamentally strong every day. We promote offensive aggressiveness that led to having quality at bats and it was nice to see some good two-strike battles in the box.”
The Spartans won game one 9-1 on the road Friday night behind 13 hits, including a 3-for-4 debut from freshman Sidney Grkman (Salisbury, N.C./Jesse Carson). Grkman also scored two runs to go along with her three singles.
Senior Aisha Figueroa (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) went 2-for-5 with a triple, two RBI and three runs scored as the leadoff for UNCG. Sophomore Lindsey Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) hit a shot off the fence picking up a triple and three RBI.
UNCG put the game out of reach with back-to-back four-run innings in the third and fourth. Newcomer Lacey Leary (Norwood, N.C./South Stanly/Spartanburg Methodist) earned the win after throwing four innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run with two strikeouts.
The Spartans held Charlotte to just four hits in seven innings with three of those hits coming from Natalie Capone.
In game two, the teams played a Sunday afternoon affair at the UNCG Softball Stadium where the Spartans won 7-5 to earn the sweep.
The 49ers took an early 2-0 lead but UNCG quickly tied the game with two runs on two errors from Charlotte. The Blue and Gold would take control with a five-run fourth inning on four hits, including two off the wall in left centerfield.
Senior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, British Columbia/Elgin Park) almost hit a home run but settled for an RBI double off the wall in the fourth. Thomas lined a two-run single with the bases loaded and classmate Chelsea Strandlund (Victoria, B.C./Lambrick Park) smoked a ball off the wall for a two-run double to give UNCG a 7-2 advantage.
Sophomore Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) picked up the win in relief and was 2-for-3 at the plate with two singles.
Charlotte would make the game close with three late runs, including a two-run home run in the seventh but the Spartans completed the sweep with the 7-5 victory.
UNCG next heads to Raleigh, N.C. to face East Carolina and Campbell on Sept. 28 at the Walnut Creek Softball Complex.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball team on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.