Softball splits second day of Under Armour Showcase
By ZACH BOND
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Northern Colorado softball program split a pair of games for the second day in a row at the USF Under Armour Showcase on Saturday.
The Bears (11-13) lost the first game of the day 4-2 to Rutgers before ending the day on a high note with a 5-1 win over North Carolina Wilmington.
"It was nice to get a split today," Northern Colorado coach Mark Montgomery said. "I don't think we played well in either game but it's good we found a way to win that second one. I'm glad we were still able to get a win without playing our best softball.
"I thought the pitching in both games was good by everyone. The important thing is to keep growing and learning and focusing on our process to get better every day."
Against Rutgers, the Bears were done in by a big fourth inning. The Scarlet Knights knocked in all of their runs in the inning with the damage being done with a pair of two-RBI hits to give Rutgers a 4-0 lead.
After getting down 4-0, the Bears tried to battle back in the fifth when Morgan Yuhas led off the inning with a triple. The freshman scored two batters later on a wild pitch to give the Bears their first run of the game.
Unfortunately for the Bears, Wilkinson's single was the last gasp as Rutgers pitcher Alyssa Landrith retired each of the next six Northern Colorado batters to close out the game.
Throughout the game, the Bears' offense was stymied by the Scarlet Knight pitching staff -- producing six hits and striking out six times. The Bears did show some patience at the plate -- earning four walks on the day.
Freshman Kelci Cheney got another start in the circle for the Bears and pitched well. She threw the game's first two innings without allowing a run before being substituted in the third inning.
Megan Wilkinson came on in relief of Cheney and ran into trouble -- allowing four runs in her two innings of action on four hits and a walk.
Jamie Pollak wrapped up the game for Northern Colorado with the final two innings of shutout softball.
In the second game, the Bears used an offensive explosion in the fifth inning to take down the Seahawks.
After falling behind 1-0 heading into the fifth, Northern Colorado scored all of its five runs in the inning. The Bears took advantage of some erratic control by UNC Wilmington -- scoring four of the five runs on bases-loaded walks.
The Bears wrap up their week-long stay in Florida with the final game of the Under Armour Showcase on Sunday with a battle against Towson at 7 a.m.