GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team had chances to win in both games but lost a doubleheader to open Southern Conference play against Georgia Southern, 3-2, and 4-3 in game two Saturday at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans are 10-12, 0-2 on the season while the Eagles, defending SoCon tournament champions, are 18-7, 2-0. The series will conclude with a single game Sunday, Mar. 16 at 11 a.m. as the game was moved up to beat potential rain in the area.
Georgia Southern 3, UNCG 2
In game one, the Spartans tried to rally late but fell short in a 3-2 loss versus defending SoCon tournament champions Georgia Southern.
Sarah Purvis picked up her ninth win of the season in a complete game effort allowing two earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts. Senior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) took the loss in a complete game allowing just two earned runs on four hits with eight strikeouts.
Sophomore Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) went 2-for-2 with a solo home run in the seventh, her second of the season.
In the seventh, the Spartans cut the lead to 3-2 after a leadoff home run from Vega. Senior Toni MacReynolds (Vienna, Va./James Madison) worked a one out walk and junior Dominique Madruga singled to the shortstop. Purvis closed the game with two pop ups to preserve the victory.
Georgia Southern took a 1-0 lead in the second inning after senior shortstop Kourtny Thomas blasted a solo home run off the scoreboard in right center.
The Eagles added another run in the third inning off RBI hit by pitch from Morgan Robinson. Taylor Rogers worked a one out walk and Emily Snider singled up the middle. After a fly out, Thomas was intentionally walked to load the bases. Robinson picked up the RBI off a hit by pitch to give Georgia Southern a 2-0 lead.
The Spartans had an opportunity in the fourth inning after senior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, B.C./Elgin Park) worked a one out walk. With two outs, freshman Tory Wright (Potomac Falls, Va./Dominion) and Vega were both hit loading the bases for UNCG. Purvis ended the threat with a pop up to second baseman.
Georgia Southern made it 3-0 in the fifth inning after a RBI single from Thomas. Rogers walked to start the inning and moved to second on a fielding error. Thomas singled up the middle for her second RBI of the game.
UNCG made a rally scoring a run in the fifth inning off a sacrifice fly from sophomore Allison Geiner (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek). MacReynolds doubled to left field to start the frame. After an illegal pitch, pinch runner Kendall McKinney (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) moved to third. After an out, Geiner lined a RBI sacrifice fly to right field to cut the lead to 3-1.
Georgia Southern 4, UNCG 3
In game two, the Eagles scored two runs in the seventh to earn a sweep against UNCG, 4-3.
Brooke Red went the distance allowing three earned runs on nine hits with 12 strikeouts. Hanks suffered the loss in relief throwing two innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, freshman Morgan Robinson delivered the two-run single to put Georgia Southern back in the lead for good.
In the bottom of the seventh, UNCG began a two out rally after a single from Tory Wright. Vega was hit by a pitch to setup runners at first and second with two outs. Red closed the game with a swinging strikeout to seal the victory for the Eagles.
The Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead off three hits and one UNCG error. Rogers started the inning with a bunt single. Rogers was called out for leaving early at first base and Emily Snider walked. Shelby Morrill singled and Thomas delivered again with a RBI single to left field to score the first run. With two outs, a fielding error by the Spartans led to a second run for Georgia Southern.
In the third inning, Madruga was hit by a pitch and stole second base. A groundout moved Madruga to third but Brooke Red ended the threat with a swinging strikeout to keep UNCG off the scoreboard.
UNCG rallied back to tie the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning after a clutch two-run double from Bedwell. Geiner started the frame with a two-out single and sophomore Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) walked. Bedwell lined a double just past the left fielder’s glove allowing both runners to score.
The Spartans took their first lead of the game in the sixth inning after a RBI infield single from Geiner. The Blue and Gold started the rally with a one out single from Vega. MacReynolds singled through the right side to put runners on first and second. After an out, Madruga singled to left field to load the bases. Geiner lined a shot off the second baseman’s glove allowing a runner to score to give UNCG a 3-2 lead.
Sophomore Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) went five innings allowing just one earned run on six hits with a strikeout.
UNCG will look to end the three-game series with a victory Sunday at 11 a.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.