March 9, 2014

Bears Slug, Pitch Way to Opening Day Sweep

CLERMONT, Fla.-Junior catcher Jessie Richardson drove in seven runs and sophomore pitcher Sarah Sorensen picked up a pair of victories in the circle as the Coast Guard softball team opened the 2014 season with a pair of victories at the NTC Spring Games. Coast Guard defeated The College of New Jersey in the opener by an 8-4 margin before posting a 15-7, six inning victory over Penn St.-Behrend in the second half of the double-dip.

Game One: Coast Guard 8, TCNJ 4

Senior center fielder Kaitlin Ward (1-2, two runs, RBI) delivered a two-out RBI single to center to score freshman third baseman Cherokee Strickland (2-4, RBI, run) to give Coast Guard a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning as the Bears came from a 4-2 deficit to defeat national powerhouse TCNJ 8-4 in the 2014 season opener.

Coast Guard opened the scoring in the first when Richardson's (2-3, 3 RBI, run) one-out triple scored sophomore shortstop Morgan Kingston (1-4, two runs) from first base. Sophomore designated player Hannah Ingerson followed suit by reaching base on an error to score Richardson and give the Bears a 2-0 advantage after an inning of play.

TCNJ would battle back to scratch a run across in the second to cut the Coast Guard lead to 2-1 before scoring three times – on back-to-back doubles – in the third to take a 4-2 lead against the Bears after an error on a sac bunt kept the inning alive.

Senior first baseman Kelly Grills (1-3, RBI) would get the Bears back into the game with an RBI double down the left field line plated Ward to cut the deficit in half. The Bears would tie the game an inning later when Strickland doubled to center to knock in junior second baseman Erin Lisko (2-4, two runs). The Strickland hit would be followed by Ward's who preceded an RBI double to right by freshman outfielder Erin Reynolds (1-3, RBI) to score Ward with an insurance run and give Coast Guard a 6-4 lead after five innings.

Coast Guard would add a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when Richardson laced a two-run double to the opposite field – to wrap up an 11-pitch at-bat – to score Lisko and Kingston. Sorensen would need just 10 pitches to wrap up the victory in the top of the seventh inning.

Sorensen (1-0) worked 5.2 innings of relief, surrendering three unearned runs on six hits while only walking one to pick up her first collegiate victory for Coast Guard.

Game Two: Coast Guard 15, Penn St.-Behrend 7 (6 Innings)

Morgan Kingston and Erin Lisko were each 3-5 (with 3 runs and 2 RBI) to pace Coast Guard's 13-hit attack in a 15-7 come-from-behind victory over Penn St.-Behrend in the second game of their Opening Day double-header. Sarah Sorensen would come out of the bullpen to fire 3.2 innings of one-run relief to pick up her second victory of the day.

Things looked good early for the Bears when sophomore outfielder Tara Larkin's (2-3, RBI, two runs) single through the right side plated Kaitlin Ward (2-2, RBI, run) with the game's first run in the second inning.

Coast Guard pitchers –battling some fatigue – struggled through the first four innings allowing seven runs on six hits as the teams traded blows throughout the early going. Headed into the fifth inning the Bears found themselves trailing 7-6 before rallying for four runs to take a 10-7 lead. Kingston singled to right to score Erin Reynolds (2-3, two runs) before Lisko produced an RBI-groundout to plate Larkin. Jessie Richardson (1-3, 4 RBI, run) would follow that up with a 2-run opposite field double for the second time in as many games to Kelly Grills (RBI, two runs) and Kingston.

The Bears would add insurance and secure the run-rule victory with an explosive five-run sixth. It started with a walk to Ward and after a base-hit and a fielder's choice by Reynolds and Larkin, respectively, Grills would reach on an error that allowed Reynolds to score to give Coast Guard an 11-7 lead. Kingston and Lisko would connect on back-to-back RBI singles to increase the Bears' lead to 13-7. After Richardson grounded out to second to score Kingston and advance Lisko to third, Lisko would come in on a passed ball to account for the final margin of 15-7.

Sorensen (2-0) allowed just four hits and two walks while surrendering an unearned run to secure the Coast Guard victory over Penn St.-Behrend.

The 15 runs scored by Coast Guard against Penn St.-Behrend were the most scored by the Bears since registering a 17-0 (5 inning) victory over Castleton State on March 17, 2012.

Coast Guard is 2-0 on the year and will return to action on Tuesday, March 11th when they take on Anna Maria and Richard Stockton in Clermont, Fla. at 9:00 and 11:00 am, respectively.

Head Coach Donna Koczajowski:

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