Softball Opens Season with Split on Sunday

Photo by Madi Wellendorf
Photo by Madi Wellendorf

PHOTOS - MARTIN LUTHER

PHOTOS - BLACKBURN

NAPLES, Florida – The Wilmington College softball team opened its 2019 season by splitting a pair of games on Sunday. The Fightin' Quakers defeated Martin Luther College 7-2 in game one and fell to Blackburn College 2-1 in game two.

In the win over Martin Luther, Wilmington's offense got going in the bottom of the second as Allison Pierce singled to shortstop following Mariyah Burkhardt reaching via an error. A groundout advanced both runners 60 feet, and KenDahl Bowles ripped a double into left center field that cleared the bases. An inning later, the Quakers again got runners to second and third. This time, it was Pierce who stepped up with a two-RBI double down the left field line to give the Quakers a 4-0 lead after three complete.

Martin Luther (2-7) plated a single run in both the fourth and fifth innings making the score 4-2, but Jillia Cook got both runs back with a two-out, two-RBI single to center field that scored both Burkhardt and Pierce in the bottom of the fifth.

Starter Grace Shell stranded two Knights' runners in the top of the sixth, and a Megan Crager sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning would be the game's final run.

Shell earned the complete-game victory scattering six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Offensively, the Quakers finished with 11 hits including a 3-for-3 game with two RBIs from Pierce and 2-for-3 with one RBI performances from both Bowles and Cook.

Morgan Palubicki took the loss for Martin Luther allowing four earned runs on nine hits in five innings. Samantha Shcoch led the Knights' offense with two hits in defeat.

In the loss to Blackburn, Pierce continued her torrid hitting pace by driving in a run in the bottom of the first. Blackburn battled back with an unearned run in the second and threatened to score again an inning later. With runners on second and third and one out, Wilmington starter Hayley Suchland, who made her first collegiate start, got a strikeout and induced an inning-ending lineout to end the threat.

In a 1-1 game, Wilmington threatened to score in the fourth and fifth innings, but couldn't deliver a hit with runners in scoring position. Blackburn took advantage of a Quaker error to begin the top of the sixth as consecutive bunts that followed put the Beavers up 2-1.

Blackburn nearly got on the board again with a two-out rally in the top of the seventh, but a flyout to deep left field kept Wilmington within a run. The Quakers would get a runner on with a walk in the seventh, but couldn't get the tying run into scoring position.

Suchland took the loss allowing two unearned runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and five walks. Kaitlyn Wade and Tessa Beckman combined for the win and the save for Blackburn, respectively.

Burkhardt was the lone Quaker to have a multi-hit game in game two while Beckman had two hits for Blackburn.

Wilmington will face Nazareth and SUNY Canton tomorrow at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively.