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Softball Splits with Randolph in Home Opener

(photo credit, Paul Dearing, MBU Sports Information)
(photo credit, Paul Dearing, MBU Sports Information)

STAUNTON, Va. – The Mary Baldwin University softball team started off its 2020 home schedule with a doubleheader against Randolph College at the MBU Softball Field on Thursday.

The Fighting Squirrels grabbed their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in game one, but fell in game two to the WildCats, 8-6, in a five-inning contest stopped early due to darkness.

In the first game of the day, MBU struck first with a run in the bottom of the first. Samantha Grimsley reached on an error with two outs and moved to second after Sam Breeden drew a walk. Alexis Clark stroked a double to right field to score both runners, 2-0. MBU tallied another run in the third after Breeden and Daleya Scaife reached with one out. Breeden crossed the plate on a wild pitch to make the score 3-0.

RC cut the lead with two runs in the fourth frame after loading the bases with one out. Briana Harbison laced a double to drive in two runs, 3-2. The Fighting Squirrels made a pitching change and stranded two runners to preserve the two-run lead.

In the top of the fifth, the WildCats took their first lead of the day on a two-run homer from Jhenai Sewer, 4-3.

Lindsay Simmons started the home half of the frame with a single and came around to score on a Grimsley single, 4-4. Grimsley moved to third on a wild pitch after taking second on a throw to the plate earlier in the inning. She crossed home plate on an RBI single by Scaife to put MBU back in front, 5-4. Jordan Miller added another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer to center field, 6-4, with her first home run of the season.

Grimsley was 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored, while Scaife was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Breeden also scored two runs in the win.

Courteney Back started in the circle and tossed 3.1 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits before Simmons (1-1) finished the last 3.2 innings and yielded two runs on three hits and struck out three batters. Braelyn Cooper (1-3) was saddled with the loss after giving up six runs (four earned) on nine hits in all 6.0 innings.

Simmons started the scoring in game two with a one-out solo homer to right-center field, 1-0. Randolph responded with six runs on five hits to jump ahead 6-2 before adding another run in the third, 7-2.

Marybeth Strickler and Simmons walked and came around to score on a two-run double by Breeden to cut the lead down to 7-4. In the fourth, the Fighting Squirrels added two more runs as Strickler tripled in Miller and Clark to make it a one-run contest. The WildCats added a run in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to go up 8-6.

Breeden hit a solo bomb to straight away center to cut the lead back to one run with one out in the bottom of the fifth frame. Scaife walked to get a runner on with still one out, but RC induced a double play to end the inning and the game after the game was called early due to darkness.

Stormy Harrison was saddled with the loss after going 1.1 innings and allowing six runs in the start. Strickler and Back combined for 3.2 innings of relief and scattered five hits and gave up two runs total. Danielle Shannon picked up her second win in as many decisions with 3.2 innings of work, giving up five runs on three hits with four walks. Abbi Pannill grabbed the save after closing out the final 1.1 innings in the circle and allowed one run on a hit.

Breeden was 2 for 2 at the plate with three RBI, including a home run, while Simmons scored two runs in the loss.

The Fighting Squirrels return to the field on Saturday, March 7, with a doubleheader against Franciscan starting at 1 pm.