Saturday, April 1, 2023

UNCP Softball Pulled Three Wins During Conference Opener

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Braves celebrate after a nail-biting conference opening weekend. PN Photo/Andrew Thrift.

By Andrew Thrift, Social Media Manager

After a disappointing twin-ball against West Chester on Monday, the Braves took to the field in their conference opener against Southern Wesleyan.

Friday’s matchup at home took place on St. Patrick’s Day but no luck was needed for the Braves. Game one saw the Braves rack up eight unanswered runs giving them the win in just five innings and scoring in every inning.

At the bottom of the second inning, Lauren Hilbourn sent a double straight out to center field putting her on second base. This put Emily Rose on third base giving the Braves two more runs on the board.

The Braves had eight runs, 11 hits and no errors after game one.

Game two went slower, but with the same outcome. The Braves took another W against Southern Wesleyan 0-7 with seven runs, 10 hits and no errors.

This was the first time since 2017 that UNCP has won the two opening games of conference action.

The following day, the Braves were back in a doubleheader against Belmont Abbey. The Braves hoped to use the previous day’s victories as momentum to pull in two more wins, but the Crusaders had other plans.

The Crusaders were able to score four runs at the top of the second, but the Braves fought even harder when they scored two runs at the bottom of the fourth inning and two more at the bottom of the sixth tying the game.

The Braves were no match for the Crusaders though when their offense scored two runs in the seventh inning leaving game one of the twin-ball 6-4 Crusaders.

Game two against the Crusaders had the Braves behind by 11 at the top of the third. The Braves ended up making a huge comeback scoring four runs in the fourth inning and seven in the fifth. At the end of the sixth inning, the score was tied 14-14.

Neither team was able to score during the seventh. Braves defense was able to hold the Crusaders at bay for the Braves to pull one final run, snatching them the win at the end of the conference opener weekend. Final score 15-14 Braves with 15 runs, 21 hits and three errors.

“We started off the week by playing West Chester, which I thought was good competition to have before we got rolling into conference. The following day the team had a Captains practice where they got to work amongst themselves without the coaching staff. This had a large impact on the week and I believe it brought this team closer. Practice leading up to game day was united and it was clear to see they were ready,” said Head Coach Stephanie Graziani.

The Braves will be on the road for an eight-game road trip, but will be back at home March 31 against North Greenville.

UNCP Student News
UNCP Student News
UNCP student newspaper since 1947.
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