Cheney, bats lead Bears at Triple Crown Classic
FORT COLLINS -- True-freshman Kelci Cheney pitched 8 2/3 innings Sunday and gave up just one earned run in Northern Colorado Softball's exhibition wins against Metro State and Chadron State at the Triple Crown College Classic.
Wilkinson (1-0 this fall) and Cheney (2-0) picked up wins in both contests, and they combined with freshman Mikayla Duffy to allow just three earned runs on 14 hits, while striking out 10 and walking three.
Northern Colorado (4-0) fell behind early in both games—it was down 1-0 against Metro and then 6-0 against Chadron—before finishing with 21 hits and a .368 batting average for a .370 mark and .500 slugging percentage in four fall games.
The Bears also Sunday got their first home run of the fall when transfer Lindsey Smith turned a 6-3 advantage into a 9-3 bulge with a three-run, sixth-inning blast against Metro State.
Smith finished 3-for-4 on the day, leading a strong day at the plate for coach Mark Montgomery's new-look Bears. Duffy ended 4-for-6, freshman Morgan Yuhas was 3-for-6, and freshman Kaitlin Flynn was 2-for-4.
"Offensively, I'm happy," Montgomery said. "Defensively, we've still got some work to do. There were a too few many rough spots, but we're still getting better every day. In both games, we gave up early leads, but we showed a lot of determination in fighting back and being the dominant team I expected us to be."
The Bears faced their first bit of adversity of the fall in the Chadron game, when the Eagles scored four runs in the first inning and two in the second to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
Montgomery immediately rallied his troops, and his speech worked. The Bears scored 13 runs over the next two innings to take a 13-6 they wouldn't surrender. Northern Colorado whacked out 10 hits in the comeback, including doubles from freshman Melissa Marcovecchio and Smith, and a pinch-hit, three-run triple from transfer Jamie Pollak.