Softball short on 1-3 opening weekend

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The softball team got off to a sluggish start in Charleston, S.C., this weekend, losing to Charleston Southern, 9-1, as well as dropping two close games to Toledo, 8-7, and Oakland University, 5-4. But the Bears (1-3) did come out of the South with its first win, beating Oakland, 5-4. The Bears entered the Lady Bucs Invitational with only one day of outside practice under their belt but were more than ready to begin their long-awaited season, Assistant Coach Janet Maguire said.

Bruno dropped its first game on Friday to Charleston Southern, as Brown was outhit 14-3. Jessica Iwasaki ’10 pitched for the Bears for 3 1-3 innings, giving up 14 hits and nine runs while striking out two batters. Andrea Browne ’10 scored the lone run and finished 1-for-3 in the game.

In their second game of the day, the Bears started off hot against Toledo, scoring five of their seven runs in the first three innings.

“It was nice to see production throughout the lineup from top to bottom,” Maguire said. “We saw a big improvement in our performance as a team from game to game.”

Co-captain Amy Baxter ’08 hit the team’s first home run of the season in the bottom of the first inning to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.

In the third, Baxter followed up her long ball with a free pass to first base after being hit by a pitch. With a runner on board, co-captain Kelsey Wilson ’09 singled up the middle, and with two on, Amanda Asay ’10 singled to center. With the bases loaded, the Toledo pitcher hit Kristie Chin ’11 to give Brown its second run of the game. Lindsay Rice ’11 singled to score two more runs, and Chin stole home to score the fourth run of the third inning.

Toledo came back to score eight runs over the next four innings ,while the Bears could muster up only two more to fall just short of the win. Michelle Moses ’09 took the mound for Brown pitching 5 1-3 innings, allowing eight hits and four runs. Emily Chaddock ’11 relieved Moses and gave up four runs in 1 2-3 innings.

The Bears defeated Oakland, 5-4, in a close game on Friday before losing to them by the same score in the consolation game on Saturday. Both teams started off slow on Friday as neither was able to score a run in the first two innings of play. Baxter ignited the offense in the third when she singled to left. Wilson singled as well and advanced the runner. Rice sent the ball to left field for a two-out single, scoring Baxter. Asay hit a single to score Wilson, putting the Bears up 2-0. The Grizzlies scored one run in the bottom of the third to pressure the Bears, but in the top of the fourth, Baxter continued her hot hitting with a double to right-center, and Wilson reached base again on a Toledo error as Baxter made her way home.

The Bears fell behind 4-3 after Oakland picked up two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth, but Brown scored two runs in the sixth to finish out the game with a victory. Browne started the inning off with a single and Baxter earned a walk. After Wilson’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, Linnea Anderson ’08 brought Brown home with a single, and the next batter, Chin, drove in the go-ahead run.

Chin started the game, allowing 10 hits and four runs while striking out four batters over 4 2-3 innings. Moses came on in relief and delivered, striking out four times in 2 1-3 shutout innings.

“It was our first day together playing,” said Anderson. “Some of us were in new positions, so the scores didn’t tell the entire story of the weekend. We need to turn the one-run losses into one-run wins.”

In the consolation game with a rematch against Oakland, the Bears fell short again. Strong hitting efforts from Asay, (3-for-4 and one run) and Wilson (1-for-2 and two runs) did not seal the win for the team. The Bears evened out a 4-2 score in the top of the seventh with doubles from Anderson and Wilson and an RBI single to left from Chin going into the final at-bats for Oakland. But the Grizzles prevailed, scoring one run to finish the game on top, 5-4. Chaddock started off the game for the Bears on the mound pitching 3 1-3 innings, and allowing four runs, only one of them earned. Moses turned in another solid relief effort, allowing only one run while striking out seven in 2 2-3 innings.

Designated hitter Anderson received all-tournament accolades for her 8-for-10 performance over the weekend, including two RBIs. She hit especially well against the Oakland pitchers, going 4-for-5 with one RBI.

“We’re young and we know we’re going have some bumps along the way,” Maguire said. “We hope to improve on this weekend – that’s our focus.”

The Bears travel to Baltimore this weekend for the Dawg Pound Tournament at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where they will compete in four games over three days.

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