Walk-Off Win Fuels Softball to Sweep Day One at Combat Invitational
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The UNCG softball team swept Day One of the Combat Invitational by earning a comeback victory against Dayton, 6-4, and taking down Hartford, 3-1, Friday night at Terry Field.
UNCG 6, Dayton 4
In game one, freshman Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) hit a dramatic walk-off three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to give the Spartans a clutch come from behind victory against Dayton, 6-4.
Sophomore Dominique Madruga (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) started the rally with a lead off walk to open the seventh. After back-to-back bunt attempts that turned into outs, freshman Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) kept the game alive with a single up the middle to set the stage for Thomas. Thomas earned her fifth home run and has reached base in all 14 games this season.
In the top of the fourth, Dayton took an early 2-0 lead after hitting back-to-back solo home runs from Jordan Jennings and Kathleen Maloof.
The Spartans tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when senior Eileen Horsmon (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) doubled to left center to bring home two runs with two outs. After two outs, Thomas singled to start the rally, followed by a double that came inches from a home run from junior Katelyn Bedwell (Surrey, B.C./Elgin Park). Horsmon tied the game with her fifth and sixth RBI of the season.
The Flyers regained the lead in the top of the fifth with a Jenning's RBI single to center field. Dayton started the frame with a hit that dropped just inside the left field line. Natalie Mariano singled to center field to put runners on first and third with no outs. Freshman Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) came on in relief and limited the damage to just one run for Dayton.
In the top of the sixth, Dayton added an insurance run after an unearned run scored off a Spartan' miscue. Paige Rhodes singled to left field, followed by a throwing error that allowed Carlyn Harlow to reach first. Nicole Thomas was able to get out of the jam, giving up just one unearned run.
UNCG answered by loading the bases in the bottom of the sixth when senior Heather Robb (Apex, N.C./Middle Creek) worked a two out walk to cut the lead to 4-3. Junior Aisha Figueroa (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) walked to begin the frame, followed by a single to left field by Vega. After an out, Bedwell walked to load the bases with one out. Horsmon fouled out to the catcher then Robb earned an RBI walk.
Vega and Thomas each finished with two hits in the contest. Nicole Thomas (3-0) earned the victory after throwing three innings, allowing just three hits and one unearned run. Redshirt junior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) started for the Spartans throwing four innings, allowing three earned runs with two strikeouts. Kayla English (2-5) took the loss after allowing six earned runs in 6.2 innings of work.
UNCG 3, Hartford 1
In game two, freshman Kelly Lupton (Galloway, N.J./Absegami) improved to 3-0 after throwing her first complete game of the season. Lupton allowed one earned run with a season-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings.
UNCG jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third thanks to a string of hits. With one out, Vega singled through the infield. After another groundout, Bedwell singled to deep center to score Vega from second to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. Horsmon lined an RBI triple to left field and Robb followed with a RBI single up the middle to make it 3-0.
Hartford cut the lead to 3-1 with a one out solo home run from Jackie Kelly in the bottom of the sixth.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Flyers threatened by loading the bases with one out. Lupton shut the door with a strikeout looking and a fly out to clinch the victory for UNCG.
Horsmon finished the game 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI triple. Robb went 2-for-2 with a double and two walks. Lindsay Thomas had a 14-game on base streak but went 0-for-4 at the plate.
Be sure to follow all updates about the UNCG softball season on www.uncgspartans.com or on twitter @UNCGsports/@UNCGsoftball.