GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team earned a tough split against nonconference foe Charlotte after winning game one, 8-6, but falling 8-4 in game two Thursday night at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Spartans improve to 18-4 on the season, while Charlotte drops to 12-10.
UNCG 8, Charlotte 6
In game one, the Spartans scored eight runs on 12 hits to take down Charlotte, 8-6. Three hitters had multiple hits in freshman Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas), junior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, B.C./Elgin Park) and senior Heather Robb (Apex, N.C./Middle Creek).
Redshirt junior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) improved to 10-1 on the season throwing six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts. Chelsea Lisikatos took the loss after allowing three earned runs on 12 hits.
UNCG took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after senior Aubrey Baldwin (Tucson, Ariz./Catalina Foothills/Pima CC) hit a two-out RBI double to right center. With one out, Robb was hit by a pitch and sophomore Tatiana Alcala (Oxnard, Calif./Pacifica) sacrificed Robb over to second with two outs. Baldwin picked up her first RBI of the season with the double.
In the top of the third, Charlotte tied the game at 1-1 after a passed ball with the bases loaded. With one out, Chelsea Lisikatos singled to start the rally. Natalie Capone singled to left center to put runners on first and third. A strikeout and a walk loaded the bases with two outs for Chelsea Ingersoll. Ingersoll struck out swinging but the ball went to the backstop leading to the 49ers' first run.
UNCG took a 5-1 lead with a four-run bottom of the third on five hits and a key Charlotte error. Junior Aisha Figueroa (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) singled to first base to open the frame. Vega singled to centerfield after a Figueroa stolen base to put runners on first and third. Freshman Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) worked a walk, while Bedwell lined an RBI single to left field to score Figueroa. After a strikeout, Robb earned an RBI single through the left side to make it 3-1 UNCG. Pinch-hitter Toni MacReynolds (Vienna, Va./James Madison) reached on a fielding error by the second baseman that brought home another run for the Spartans. Baldwin picked up her second RBI of the game with a fielder's choice, allowing Bedwell to score. Freshman Allison Geiner (Raleigh, N.C./Middle Creek) singled up the middle but Alcala was thrown out trying to score from second base.
The Spartans added to their lead with three more runs in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Thomas walks, while Bedwell reached on a dropped exchange between Charlotte's second baseman and shortstop. Senior Eileen Horsmon (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) singled up the middle to load the bases and Robb picked up another RBI single to make the score 6-1 UNCG. Alcala lined a two-run single to right field to score Horsmon and Bedwell. UNCG scored all three runs with two outs to take an 8-1 advantage.
Charlotte cut the lead to 8-4 after a three run top of the fifth on three hits. Two walks and a Briana Gwaltney RBI single to right field put one run on the board. With two outs, Jessica Plemmons doubled to left center to plate two more runs. Kalie Lang popped up to third base to end the threat.
Freshman Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) pitched the seventh inning allowing two runs on four hits. Lisikatos doubled off the wall in left field to score two runs with two outs. Thomas ended the game by getting Capone to pop out to second base to secure the victory.
Charlotte 8, UNCG 4
In game two, Charlotte used a five-run sixth inning and a three-run seventh inning to take down UNCG, 8-4.
Horsmon highlighted game two with a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, her first home run of the season, but the Spartans fell short in the end.
Sophomore Erica Navarette (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills) picked up the loss to fall to 2-2 on the season. Navarette pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits with all five coming in the sixth inning. Kate Watkins (7-7) earned the victory for the 49ers who allowed four earned runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts.
Charlotte took a 5-0 lead in the top of the sixth on three hits. Plemmons doubled home the first run, while a couple of bases loaded walks added two more runs. Lindsey Holloman had a two-out pinch-hit single to right field to score the final two runs of the inning.
UNCG had an opportunity in the sixth when Thomas reached on a single through the left side to start the inning. After a fielder's choice, Horsmon and Robb each walked to load the bases with one out. Charlotte would get out of the jam with back-to-back swinging strikeouts to keep the Spartans off the board.
The 49ers added three insurance runs in the seventh off three hits. Samantha Slade singled with one out and back-to-back walks loaded the bases. Another pinch-hit from Courtney Caroll led to a two-run double to right center. Capone earned the third RBI off a single to third base.
In the final inning, UNCG would get walks from sophomore Dominique Madruga (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) and Figueroa to start the rally. Vega singled up the middle to load the bases with no outs. After two outs, Horsmon stepped up a drilled a grand slam to deep center to cut Charlotte's lead to 8-4. Robb would foul out to second base to end the rally for the Spartans.
The Spartans return to conference play with a three game series against Western Carolina starting Saturday, March 15 at 1 p.m.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball season on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.