March 16, 2013
CULLOWHEE, N.C. -Western Carolina softball (8-16, 1-4 Southern Conference) held tough against visiting UNCG (20-4, 4-1 SoCon) but was swept by the Spartans 5-1, 7-3 Saturday at the Catamount Softball Complex.
The Catamounts peppered 12 hits across both games and combined for four runs. The high-octane Spartans pushed across 12 runs on 19 hits and had two homeruns in the contest. Western Carolina had its five-game streak of hitting a homerun snapped in the first game against UNCG but did bounce back in the second game with a homerun by senior Amber Steinhardt, her second of the season.
UNCG 5, Western Carolina 1
Western Carolina took an early 1-0 lead, in the first game, scoring a run in the bottom of the second inning. Haley Pace hit a lead-off single up the middle and moved to second and third on wild pitches by UNCG pitcher Raeanne Hanks. Pace scored when freshman first baseman Taylor Sigmonlaced a shot to centerfield. The RBI single was Sigmon's 10th of the season.
After three solid innings, Catamount sophomore pitcher Jordan Garrettgave up runs in three of the remaining four innings. The Spartans plated two runs in the fourth and fifth inning and a run in the sixth to seal the game.
Garrett tossed a complete game, her eighth of the season, giving up four earned runs, 10 hits, had four walks and struck out four. She falls to 6-8 on the season.
After the lone run in the second inning, Western Carolina had just one true scoring threat through the remainder of the game. With two outs, in the bottom of the sixth, sophomore catcher Heather Chastaindoubled to left center; it was her team-leading sixth double n the season. Sigmon ground out to third base to end the threat.
Amelia Griffin, Chastain and Sigmon each had two hits in the game accounting for six of the seven hits in the contest by the Catamounts. UNCG's Hanks took the win and improves to 11-1.
UNCG 7, Western Carolina 3
The Catamounts were held scoreless for six of the seven innings, in the second game, before a homerun by Steinhardt sparked a rally attempt in the bottom of the seventh.
Western Carolina's pitching staff struggled as Mallory Broomestarted the game, taking the loss, before she gave way to Steinhardt and finally Garrett closed out the game. Broome falls to 1-6 on the season after going two innings and giving up three runs on four hits and striking out one. Steinhardt went 2.1 innings allowing four runs on five hits and striking out one as well. Garrett entered in the third inning, and in her 3.1 innings of work, she held the Spartans scoreless and struck out three.
UNCG jumped on board early when Lindsay Thomas homered to right field in the first inning. The Spartans tacked on three runs in the third and fourth before being held scoreless the final three innings of the game.
Western Carolina had just two hits over the course of the first six innings. UNCG pitcher Erica Navarette sat down seven straight Catamount batters after giving up a walk to Chastain in the fourth inning.
Navarette's consecutive batters retired was snapped in a big way in the bottom of the seventh inning when Steinhart led off the inning with a homerun to avoid the shutout.
Steinhardt's homerun was a spark for Western Carolina. After her long ball Sigmon hit a one out double and scored off an RBI double by Makenzi McAteer. It was McAteer's first double and RBI of the season.
The game got even more interesting when Sigmon scored off a UNCG error allowing freshman Amber Kimrey to reach first with one out. After Griffin ground out, Jordan Fulton and Shemekia Scotton drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. This set up a scoring chance for WCU homerun leader Haley Paceand prompted a pitching change by UNCG. The Spartans put in Kelly Lupton who got Pace to ground out to end the game and earned Lupton a save in the game.
UNCG had nine hits in the game and Western Carolina had five. Three of Western Carolina's hits five hits came in the seventh inning.
Western Carolina will try and avoid the series sweep on Sunday when it hosts UNCG in the final game of the three-game series. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at the Catamount Softball Complex.