Softball Falls 6-2 to North Texas in Season Opener, Rebounds in Nightcap Win over TAMUCC, 7-5
AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Memphis softball team (0-1) could not get their offense going in the 2013 season opener as the Tigers fell to North Texas (1-0) on the first day of the Texas Classic in Austin, falling behind 6-0 before succumbing 6-2 on an Ashley Kirk 4-hitter.
The Mean Green got on base first with Paige Kisling drawing a walk in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Kisling attempted to steal second but was thrown out by catcher Amber Lindahl to keep the game scoreless after one.
In the second, North Texas' Jackie Miller had the first hit of the game with a two-out single to left field. However, the Tigers picked up the third out of the inning on the following batter to escape a threat from UNT.
While the Tiger offense blew cold in the first few innings of the game, as UNT pitcher Ashley Kirk fanned four batters in the first three innings of play, the Mean Green put up two runs in the fourth inning with a 2-out rally, capped by a Brook Foster doubled to right field.
In the fifth, shortstop Laura Curtis got Memphis' first hit of the season with a one-out double to the center field wall, her fifth career double. First baseman Libby Goranson moved Curtis to third on a groundout, but Kirk's fifth strikeout of the game kept Memphis off the scoreboard heading into the bottom of the fifth.
North Texas stretched their lead to 3-0 as Danielle Hoff sacrifice fly to right field to plate Karly Williams at the end of the fifth.
After Memphis was held to another three-and-out in the top of the sixth, Jordan Terry got UNT started with a one-out walk. Bryana Wade followed with a single to right center to advance Terry to third before scoring on a groundout by Williams. Hirsch then singled and advanced to second on the throw to put runners in scoring position for the Mean Green. Kisling helped North Texas add two more runs with an infield single to score Poole before Hirsch scored to make it 6-0 as Memphis attempted to tag Kisling out between first and second.
Memphis managed two runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Curtis to center field that plated Kelly Braman and make it 6-1, followed by a sac fly to center from Goranson to score Mosby and cut the Mean Green advantage to 6-2. However, that would be as close as the Tigers would get.
Ellen Roberts took the loss for Memphis, giving up nine hits, five earned runs and striking out three on the day. Kirk struck out six for UNT and allowed the four hits with two earned runs and zero walks. Curtis led Memphis at the plate, going 2-of-3 and adding one RBI.
Memphis softball is now 4-4 in season openers.
The Tigers bounced back against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 3 p.m. to close out the first day of the Texas Classic. Trailing 5-4 in the fifth inning, the Tigers (1-1) drove in three runs and held Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (0-2) scoreless the rest of the game to earn a 7-5 comeback win.
The Islanders struck in the first inning with a single to right field from Mickayla Cochran. After an illegal pitch from Memphis, Cochran came around to score off a double from Megan McKinney to put TAMUCC up 1-0 heading to the bottom of the first.
After struggling in the first game of the day, Memphis' offense came alive as center fielder Lelani Bernardino tripled to left center to lead off for the Tigers. Second baseman Morgan Mosby followed with a single to right field to bring home Bernardino and knot the game at one-all. Shortstop Laura Curtis got in on the action by laying down a bunt to put runners on first and second with no outs before designated hitter Kelly Braman reached on a fielder's choice by tapping down a bunt. Curtis scored on the following play as first baseman Libby Goranson reached first after a throwing error to make it 2-1 Memphis.
The Tiger offense was far from being done as pinch runner Wheeler Hill stole second to put her and Braman in scoring position. Third baseman Cierra Mangum laid down a bunt and advanced to second on the throw while Braman and Hill came home to score and push Memphis' advantage to 4-1 after one inning of play.
In the third inning, the Islanders knotted up the game at four. Cochran led off the inning with a full-count walk, followed by a single from Dani Tefft and McKinney's three-run bomb.
In the fourth, TAMUCC re-took the lead back as Lindsey Lyles led off with a walk for the Islanders. Hayley Galloway then bunted Lyles over to second before an error by the Memphis infield allowed Lyles to score as TAMUCC took a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Memphis got the offense going again as Mosby reached on a fielder's choice before Curtis doubled to left field to put runners in scoring position. Braman then drew a walk to load the bases with one out. An Islanders' throwing error at home plated Curtis and Mosby, giving Memphis a 6-5 advantage. Third baseman Cierra Mangum kept the momentum going with an infield single before Lindahl reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases once again. Pinch hitter Georgeanna Goodwin came in to her first collegiate game to draw a walk that brought home Goranson and pushed the Tigers' lead to 7-5 after five innings.
The Islanders attempted a late rally in the sixth as Cochran reached on a throwing error followed by a single from Tefft. With two outs, Jamise Jackson drew a walk to load the bases for TAMUCC. However, Tefft would be called out on interference to end the inning for the Islanders.
Ellen Roberts came in and allowed just one hit in the final two innings of play to pick up the save, her first on the season and the fourth on her Tiger career.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Pearson earned the win for the Tigers (her second career W) while TAMUCC's Ashley Elicerio took the loss. Bernardino and Curtis led Memphis with two hits apiece while Curtis also scored twice to lead the team.
Memphis will continue play at the Texas Classic tomorrow with a 1 p.m. contest against No. 7/9 Texas. The game will be televised on the Longhorn Network.
• Amber Lindahl moved all-alone into 2nd place in the school record books for career runners caught stealing with 25 when she threw out Paige Kisling attempting to steal second in the first inning against North Texas. Kimmi Hayden holds the school record with 30 runners thrown out.
• Lelani Bernardino hit her 5th career triple in the first inning versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, tying her for second in school history with Leila Dolfo (2006-09), and scored her first run of the season in the first inning. It is the 75th run scored of her career, which ranks sixth in school history. Bernardino had her 28th multiple-hit game of her career and the first on the season. Bernardino moved into a tie for third place in career hit by pitch with 15, tying Maddie McKinley (2008-11).
• Morgan Mosby drove in her 17th career RBI and first of the season versus TAMUCC.
• Laura Curtis scored her 20th and 21st career runs against TAMUCC with runs in the first and fifth innings. Curtis has doubled in three-straight games dating back to last year. She now has six doubles in her career and two this season.