March 12, 2014

Bears Rally Late, Salvage Split

CLERMONT, Fla.-Junior catcher Jessie Richardson went 7-for-7 on the day as the Coast Guard softball team picked up a split on day three of the NTC Spring Games. Coast Guard lost the opener to Monmouth (Ill.) by a 4-3 count before rallying for a 6-5 victory over Mount Ida in the nightcap.

Game One: Monmouth 4, Coast Guard 3

Freshman Kirstyn Ozga drew a bases-loaded walk to give Monmouth a 4-3 walk-off win in the first game of a Coast Guard double header.

Both clubs traded zeroes on the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth when Monmouth got ahead with a pair of runs on singles by senior Kaitlyn Winkler and sophomore Kristen Dillon to give the Fighting Scots a 2-0 lead.

Senior center fielder Kaitlin Ward would lead of the sixth by reaching on an error but wound up being one of nine runners Coast Guard left on base in the game.

An inning later Coast Guard would finally break through in their final at-bat. With no outs and the bases loaded freshman third baseman Cherokee Strickland (1-4, RBI, run) lined an RBI-single up the middle to score sophomore shortstop Morgan Kingston (2-4, run) and cut the Monmouth lead in half at 2-1. The Bears nearly added another run on the play but junior second baseman Erin Lisko (3-3) was gunned down at the plate on a perfect throw from sophomore center fielder Emily Watkins. Coast Guard would get two more runs in the inning on back-to-back wild pitches, scoring Jessie Richardson (3-3, run) and Strickland to give the Bears a 3-2 advantage headed into the bottom of the seventh.

Monmouth would tie the game in the bottom of the seventh on a one-out single by Dillon to plate Winkler. Following an intentional walk to load the bases and set up force plays around the diamond, Ozga worked a four-pitch walk to give Monmouth the victory.

Sophomore right-hander Kristine Kahl (1-1) suffered her first loss of the season despite firing a complete game. She allowed just two earned runs – four in total – on eight hits and a pair of walks while striking out four.

Game Two: Coast Guard 6, Mount Ida 5

Jessie Richardson (4-4, 2 RBI, two runs) bounced a high chopper over Mount Ida's drawn-in infield for a two-out RBI single to give Coast Guard a 6-5 victory over the Mustangs.

The Bears opened the scoring in the bottom of the first as Richardson lined a one-out double to left to score Morgan Kingston (1-3, two runs) who led off the inning with a walk. Richardson would later come around to score on a throwing error during a stolen base attempt to give the Bears a 2-0 advantage. After a Kaitlin Ward (2-3, 2 RBI) single through the left side scored Cherokee Strickland (2-3, two runs) Coast Guard led 3-0 with one full inning in the books.

Freshman catcher Erin Reynolds (1-3, RBI) – making her first career start behind the dish – drove in a run with a comebacker to the pitcher. A batter later Ward would double to left to drive in Richardson who had reached on her first of three singles on the evening.

Coast Guard would go on to build a 5-0 lead going into the fifth as sophomore right-hander Sarah Sorensen was nearly perfect through the first four innings but a pair of defensive miscues cost the Bears dearly in the fifth. Mount Ida would tie things up with five (unearned runs) on four hits and the two aforementioned Coast Guard errors.

After a pair of quick outs in the bottom half of the sixth Kingston and Erin Lisko (1-4) would put together back-to-back hits to set up Richardson with runners on first and third with two outs and a chance to give the Bears a lead. Richardson bounced a high-chopper over the third baseman on an 0-1 pitch to drive in Kingston and give Coast Guard a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Kristine Kahl (2-1) worked two perfect innings of relief, recording a pair of strikeouts to pick up the victory. Sorensen has now thrown 17.1 innings without allowing an earned run to begin her pitching career, a school record.

Coast Guard is now 4-2 on the season. The Bears will return to action on Friday, March 14th when they take on RPI and St. Lawrence at 9:00 am and 11:00 am, respectively.

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