Softball Walks Off to Sweep Doubleheader
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG softball team defeated Monmouth, 5-2, before rallying to knock off ACC foe Virginia, 2-1, to cap off a perfect Sunday afternoon at the UNCG Softball Stadium.
"We played some good softball today," said head coach Janelle Breneman. "Two very good competitors and I thought this would be a really good test for us. I was really proud of how we came out and came up big with runners in scoring position."
The Spartans add two more wins to improve to 15-2, their best start in school history. The Blue and Gold have won five-straight games since losing a tough 4-3 game against Marshall last weekend.
UNCG 5, Monmouth 2
In game one, UNCG earned a hard fought victory over Monmouth, 5-2, after freshman Lindsay Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) finished 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and three RBI
The Spartans took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Thomas blasted her team-leading sixth home run of the season. Thomas hit a two-run shot to left center after classmate Danielle Vega (Rialto, Calif./Aquinas) worked a one out walk.
Monmouth had an opportunity in the top of the third as the Hawks loaded the bases. Catcher Kayla Weiser and outfielder Shannon Fitzgerald hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Sophomore Erica Navarette (San Marcos, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) induced a groundout to Tish Derer for the second out. Navarette walked Kate Kuzma intentionally to load the bases with two outs but got Jill Freese to strike out swinging to end the threat.
The Hawks loaded the bases again in the top of the fourth with only one out. Kayleena Flores reached on an error to start the frame. After a pop out, Alicia DeSanto singled to the pitcher and Weiser walked to load the bases. Navarette forced another pop out and a groundout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, UNCG scored two more runs to take a 4-0 lead. Freshman Chelsea Strandlund (Victoria, B.C./Lambrick Park) reached on an error by the third baseman. Sophomore Tatiana Alcala (Oxnard, Calif./Pacifica) reached after Monmouth second baseman dropped the ball at first. After an out, freshman Nicole Thomas (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) worked a walk to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Toni MacReynolds (Vienna, Va./James Madison) earned an RBI sac fly to centerfield to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead. With two outs, Vega lined a single through the infield to score another run for UNCG.
Monmouth broke through with two runs in the top of the sixth to cut the lead to 4-2. The Hawks worked two walks to start the inning. Redshirt junior Raeanne Hanks (Rainier, Ore./Rainier Senior) came on in relief and struck out DeSanto swinging for the first out. Monmouth loaded the bases for the third time after Weiser reached on an error. Fitzgerald singled home two runs to put the Hawks on the board. A heads up play by senior Eileen Horsmon (Dunkirk, Md./Northern) who threw home to nail a runner after Derer singled to shortstop. Hanks ended the jam with a groundout to second to keep UNCG in the lead 4-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Spartans answered with a two out RBI single from Thomas to make it 5-2. With two outs, junior Aisha Figueroa (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) worked a walk, while Vega followed with a single through the infield. Thomas came through with her 16th RBI of the season to give UNCG a 5-2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Hanks induced a fly out and a line out to begin the inning. After a walk and a single, Hanks ended the game by striking out DeSanto swinging for the victory.
Navarette improved to 2-1 after throwing five innings, allowing no earned runs with four strikeouts. Hanks picked up her third save of the season tossing two innings with two strikeouts.
UNCG 2, Virginia 1
In game two, Horsmon roped a walk-off double off the wall to score pinch-runner Kiah Ruffin (Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest-Rolesville) from second to give UNCG a 2-1 victory against Virginia.
The bottom of the seventh started with a single from Vega when Lindsay Thomas laid down a sacrifice bunt to move pinch-runner Ruffin into scoring position. Horsmon picked up her eighth RBI with the game-winning hit off the right field wall.
Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth after Shannon McGinley singled up the middle scoring Kristen Hawkins from third with two outs. Erica Cipolloni singled to start the frame, followed by a foul out to first. With one out, Hawkins doubled down the line when Figueroa fired a throw to Vega who relayed home to nail Cipolloni at the plate. Hanks came on in relief but McGinley gave the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.
UNCG answered as Lindsay Thomas delivered a clutch two out solo home run to left center to tie the game at 1-1. Thomas broke up a perfect game that was being thrown by Virginia's senior pitcher Melanie Mitchell.
Mitchell finished the game throwing 6.2 innings, allowing only three hits on two earned runs with 10 strikeouts. Hanks earns the victory in relief after tossing 3.1 innings, while allowing just two hits. Nicole Thomas started for the first time this season and threw 3.2 solid innings with four strikeouts.