GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team rallied late but fell short to Eastern Kentucky, 5-2, Thursday afternoon at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans are 10-10 with the loss and the Colonels improve to 10-10 on the season.
Leanna Pittsenbarger started the game for Eastern Kentucky throwing three no hit innings before returning in the sixth to earn the save in the victory. Pittsenbarger threw the final four outs to seal the win for the Colonels. Haley Flynn earned the victory in relief with two innings pitched. Sophomore Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) took the loss after throwing three innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits.
Eastern Kentucky scored two runs in the third inning off three hits and an error. With one out, Nicole Heitz singled up the middle. Heitz moved to second off a wild pitch and Krislyn Campos lined out to left field. The Colonels got back-to-back two out RBI singles from Christina Ciolek and Katie Tackett.
In the fourth inning, EKU increased its lead to 5-0 after scoring three runs on two hits. Shannon McQueen worked a walk to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt, McQueen moved to third after a single from Amber Murray. McQueen scored on a wild pitch and Ciolek lined a two-run single to push across the fifth run for Eastern Kentucky.
The Spartans made a rally in the sixth inning scoring two runs on two hits and loaded the bases twice. Sophomore Allison Geiner (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek) and junior Tatiana Alcala (Oxnard, Calif./Pacifica) worked walks to start the frame. Senior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, B.C./Elgin Park) loaded the bases after being hit and Nicole Thomas lined a sacrifice fly to right field to make it 5-1. Another an out, Freshman Tory Wright (Potomac Falls, Va./Dominion) singled to centerfield to plate another run. Sophomore Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) singled up the middle forcing Eastern Kentucky to re-enter Pittsenbarger in the circle. Pittsenbarger ended UNCG’s rally with a swinging strikeout to end the sixth inning.
In the seventh inning, UNCG couldn’t push any runs across, as Pittsenbarger needed just seven pitches to end the game.
Senior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) kept Eastern Kentucky off the scoreboard in 3.1 relief innings and allowed just one hit with three strikeouts.
The Blue and Gold open Southern Conference action this weekend against Georgia Southern starting with a doubleheader Saturday, Mar. 15 at 1 p.m. at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball team on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.