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Softball struggles in College of Charleston Tournament, but close out with a victory

The University of Maine softball team started off their road trip versus Charleston Southern  University, College of Charleston and Campbell University over the course of Friday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 1.

First-year pitcher Caitlyn Fallon took the mound for the Black Bears on Friday, pitching three innings and notching one strikeout while allowing three earned runs against Charleston Southern University. Despite these stats, she was able to battle through a bases-loaded jam during the fifth inning. Head coach Mike Coutts was making rotations throughout the game, and not just on the mound. In the second inning, he subbed out players from centerfielder to all of the base players. Working alongside Fallon, third-year pitcher Kyleigh O’Donnell contributed four innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out two batters. Offensively, Maine’s bats just couldn’t get it going against first-year pitcher Annah Junge, who limited the Black Bears to six total hits and zero runs through seven innings. Maine fell by a final tally of 6-0.

The Black Bears had a similarly difficult outing in their second contest on Saturday against the College of Charleston Cougars, managing to score one lone run. Second-year pitchers Gabbie Siciliano and Emily Reid traded off the mound for Maine, combining for two strikeouts while allowing four earned runnings. Several errors by the infield and some well-placed hits took the Black Bears out of contention. Charleston drove the score up inning by inning, until they eventually closed out the contest without having to play the seventh inning. Offensively for Maine, Amanda Macburnie recorded an RBI for the lone score, though she grounded out to second in the process. Though multiple batters managed to make contact with pitches from first-year ace Carli McCants, superb play from the Charleston infield and outfield kept the majority of the Black Bears off base.

For Maine’s second contest on Saturday, they kicked off against the Campbell University Camels with probably the fastest few innings of softball played in a while. Maine got on base first in the second inning, but the efforts were all for naught as Campbell’s first-year pitcher Georgeanna Barefoot cleaned up the remaining batters. Third-year pitcher Lilly Volk got the nod for Maine to step onto the mound. She did excellent through the first three innings, but the top of the fourth led to a regrettable pitch. With one batter grounded out, Volk brought a full count on third-year catcher Kayla Frendall, before lobbing a final pitch down the plate that Frendall managed to barely get over the centerfield fence for the lone homer. The game went out of reach in the fifth inning, as a double from fourth-year third base player Kyandi Tipler’s double off of Volk scored two more batters for the Camels. The Black Bears had given up a few errors up until this point in the tournament, including stolen bases, and attempted to flip the script, but were caught on both attempts within the contest. The final score was 4-0.

Unfortunately, the Black Bears couldn’t get a split with the College of Charleston, losing 5-0. The cougars started off scoring two runs in the second, two in third and two in the bottom of the sixth. Fallon pitched two innings, allowing two runs, four hits, two walks, and one strikeout. Siciliano pitched four relief innings, allowing three runs with one strikeout. Offensively, second-year utility player Brianna Neely and Gray each recorded two hits.

The weekend concluded against the Coppin State Bald Eagles. Maine came out aggressive, as Neely hit a clutch two-out RBI single scoring third-year utility player Shanna Scribner. During the top of the fifth Neely reached base, stole second and advanced to third on a bunt hit. Maine pulled off a double steal for the second run, and it worked for the third run as well. Neely continued her dynamic offensive attack, with a two-out RBI double extending the lead to 4-0 in the top of the sixth. The Black Bears would score three runs during the seventh inning, putting the final touches on their second victory of the season and their first shutout win by a final score of 7-0. Second-year pitcher Emily Reid led the on the mound, providing three innings with one strikeout. O’Donnell was the relief pitch winner, allowing two hits with six strikeouts. Offensively, Neely led all players with three RBI’s and a run, while second-year outfielder Emma Larke, and  second-year Keely Clark recorded hits and runs. Scribner led all players with three runs scored.

Maine softball returns home this week to recover before more travel. Maine is traveling for the Elon Softball Cardinal Invite next Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15, against Elon University and Bucknell University.

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