Western Carolina completes weekend sweep of UNCG
GREENSBORO, NC – Western Carolina won both games of a Southern Conference softball doubleheader over UNC Greensboro on Sunday to complete a three-game weekend sweep at UNCG Softball Stadium. The Catamounts took the twinbill by scores of 5-4 and 4-0.
UNCG (18-33, 3-12 SoCon) started the first game by pushing across a run in the opening inning for a 1-0 lead. Krista Judge singled up the middle on the first pitch of the game and stole second to get herself into scoring position. Judge then advanced to third on an Adriane Audley sacrifice and scored on a Jennifer Bonilla single through the left side.
The Catamounts swung the lead in their favor in the second with two unearned runs to take a 2-1 advantage. With the bases loaded and two outs, Samm Keppel bounced a routine grounder to second for what seemed to be the final out of the inning. However, Lyndsay Mouse’s throw to Audley, who was covering second base, was wide of the bag and allowed two runners to cross home plate and give the visitors the lead.
The starting pitchers for both teams then took over for the next couple innings. Western’s Mendy McKenzie set down nine straight Spartan hitters while, UNCG’s Hannah Angel only allowed a walk during the third and fourth innings.
The fifth inning was a different story though, as Ashley Adams blasted her team-leading 19th homer of the season, a two-run shot, to give the Catamounts a 4-1 lead.
The bottom of the frame started nicely for UNCG as Kara Clouser lined a double on the first pitch she saw all the way to the centerfield wall. Oakes followed with an infield single to set up runners on first and second for the Spartans with no outs. Heather Branche was called upon to lay down a bunt, but her attempt lined right to the first baseman, who promptly tossed over to first base to double up Oakes. With Judge batting, Clouser went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Judge singled softly to second base to cut the Spartan deficit to 4-2.
Audley then laced a single to right field. On the throw back into the infield, Adams’ attempt to throw out Audley at first base was not handled by Western first baseman Lauren Ross, which allowed Judge to score all the way from first base to make it a 4-3 ballgame. Bonilla then singled advancing Audley to third, but Kelly Allen grounded out to end the threat.
Each team then pushed across another run in the sixth to maintain Western’s slim lead, now at 5-4. The Spartans put together one last rally in the seventh as Bonilla singled up the middle for her third hit of the game. Koury Duncan came on to pinch run for the all-conference first baseman and would move to second on a sacrifice by Allen. With the game-tying run at second and only one out, Mouse and Stephanie Talarek were unable to get Duncan home as the score was stuck at 5-4 in favor of Western.
McKenzie was just good enough to run her record to 20-5 on the season. She was touched up for four runs (three earned) on 12 Spartan base hits. She struck out six and walked one in a 100 pitch performance.
Similar to Saturday’s game, the UNCG defense was not kind to its starting pitcher as Angel fell to 5-14 on the year. The freshman allowed five runs, but only one was earned, on six hits over the distance. She also struck out five and walked five Catamount hitters. Judge and Bonilla each went 3-for-4 for UNCG with Judge driving in two and scoring twice.
Adams was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs for the Cats.
The nightcap was not nearly as thrilling as starter Jenny Jackson notched her third shutout of the season by allowing only five hits and striking out three hitters to run her season record to 12-4.
A pair of Catamount homers, a solo shot by Stephanie Beatty in the second and a three-run blast by Allyson McCubbins in the fourth, was all they would need to maintain their grip on first place in the conference.
The Spartans' best chance to score came in the first when Audley singled, Bonilla walked and Mouse reached on an error to load the bases with two outs, but Talarek grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
UNCG starter Danielle Byrne, who already had two complete game victories to her credit this week, suffered the loss to fall to 4-6 on the campaign. She allowed four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings of work.
McCubbins was 3-for-4 with her 11th longball of the year, while Savannah Filley and Beatty each had two hits for the Catamounts.
UNCG steps out of conference to host Virginia Tech on Tuesday afternoon for a doubleheader beginning at 4 pm at UNCG Softball Stadium. The Hokies defeated the Spartans twice earlier in the season at the Charlotte Green & White Tournament back in February. Meanwhile, Western hosts Gardner-Webb on Tuesday for a 4 pm doubleheader.
Game One 123 456 7 R-H-E
WCU 020 021 0 5-6-1
UNCG 100 021 0 4-12-3
WCU: Mendy McKenzie and Allyson McCubbins UNCG: Hannah
Angel and Kelly Allen
W: McKenzie (20-5). L: Angel (5-14). SV: None.
WCU 010 300 0 4-7-1
UNCG 000 000 0 0-5-1
WCU: Jenny Jackson and Allyson McCubbins UNCG: Danielle
Byrne, Vanessa Oakes (6) and Kelly Allen
W: Jackson (12-4). L: Byrne (4-6). SV: None.
- UNCG -