Softball falls to Penguins, Knights in one-run losses
By SCOTT WARD
ORLANDO -- Northern Colorado Softball's spring break trip to Florida continued Tuesday with a pair of heartbreaking, one-run losses to Youngstown State and Central Florida.
The Bears (9-11) took on the Penguins early Tuesday in Kissimmee, Fla., and trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the seventh.
They strung together four straight hits to start the seventh, and pull within 3-2 with the bases loaded and nobody out, but a couple of bang-bang outs at the plate and a swinging strikeout by freshman Mikayla Duffy ended the threat and the game with the Penguins (8-2) on top.
The Bears then made their way over to UCF Softball Complex on Tuesday night for a matchup with the Conference USA Knights (17-9). That game turned into a back-and-forth affair early, with three lead changes in the first three innings.
Central Florida took the lead for good in the third inning with a two-run home run to left that put the Northern Colorado in a 5-3 hole. It added a run in the fourth inning when junior-transfer Jamie Pollak started off with a single to right field and later scored on freshman Kaitlynn Flynn's sacrifice fly to center, but that's as close as it would get.
The Bears put runners on second and third with two outs in their half of the sixth inning against Central Florida, but Duffy was robbed of a game-tying, or possibly game-winning, hit when her shot to left was snagged by Central Florida third baseman Farrah Sullivan.
Freshman Kelci Cheney (0-2) pitched her first complete game of the season in the morning game against Youngstown State and allowed just the three runs in her seven innings. She allowed 11 hits but walked none and struck out three, giving her 20 punchouts on the season.
Duffy (3-5) and sophomore Megan Wilkinson patched together the Bears' pitching effort against UCF. Duffy got the starting nod and allowed five runs (three earned) in 3 2/3 innings. Wilkinson provided solid relief for 2 1/3 innings, allowing only a walk to the first batter she faced and then a harmless single in the fifth.
Freshman Melissa Marcovecchio finished with a team-high four hits in the two games, while senior Erin Geddis, freshman Tia'nalia Fa'Asua,, Flynn and junior-transfer Lindsey Smith all had two hits apiece.
Geddis raised her batting average to a team-high .393 and Smith pulled close to the top of the Bears' stats page with a now-.382 batting average, from Northern Colorado's cleanup spot.
Marcovecchio's success at the plate Tuesday gave her a .377 average this season in 69 at-bats.