MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. - The University of Saint Joseph softball team dropped its season opener to Division II Ohio Valley University on Friday afternoon, 13-7, in the Blue Jays opening game of the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex. The Blue Jays pounded out 10 hits in the game led by sophomore Amaria Sharon (Tolland, Conn.) who went a perfect 4-for-4 with a triple, double, three RBI and two stolen bases.
Score: University of Saint Joseph - 7, Ohio Valley University - 13
Records: USJ (0-1), OVU (2-10)
Location: Myrtle Beach, S.C. - NMB Sports Complex Field #3
Date: Friday, March 9, 2018
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Blue Jays got off to a hot start and jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sharon laced a two-RBI double to bring home junior Morgan Skoly (Vernon, Conn.) and senior Sarah Ercoli (East Granby, Conn.) who respectively doubled and reached on an error to start the game. Junior Kara Klimaszewski (Naugatuck, Conn.) would then drive in Sharon three batters later with a two-out RBI single to make it 3-0.
Ohio Valley punched right back in the top of the second with a big two-out rally and plated four runs to take a 4-3 advantage. With runners on second and third and two outs, freshman Andrea Cady (Simi Valley, Calif.) got the Fighting Scots on the board with an RBI single. Back-to-back errors by the Blue Jays made it 3-2 and loaded the bases before freshman Kelsey Goots (Parkersburg, W. Va.) made USJ pay with a two-RBI single to give OVU the lead.
Another two-out rally would lead to a single run for the Fighting Scots in the top of the third inning to make it 5-3. After a single by junior Arianna Escobar (Oxnard, Calif.) freshman Samantha Morris (Newport, Ohio) would drive her home with an RBI double. OVU then pushed across their sixth and seventh unanswered runs in the top of the fourth inning off the bat of freshman Madison Gallagher (San Martin, Calif.). Her two-RBI double increased the Fighting Scots lead to 7-3.
USJ did not quit though and responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame to pull within 7-6. The second double of the game by Skoly plated the first USJ run and then Ercoli followed with an RBI groundout to make it 7-5. Sharon then stepped in and ripped an RBI triple to get the Blue Jays right back into it heading into the second half of the game.
The Fighting Scots would be the next team to score though and shift the momentum back onto their side. A two-out RBI single by Melinda Koppinger (Oakdale, Calif.) pushed OVU's lead to 8-6. She then stole second and came into score on a USJ error to make it 9-6.
A couple of OVU miscues led to a run in the bottom half of the inning for the Blue Jays to get within 9-7, but the Fighting Scots plated four insurance runs in the top of the seventh to secure the 13-7 win. A three-RBI triple by Goots followed by an RBI triple from Gallagher did the damage.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Sharon led the offensive charge for the Blue Jays going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a double, triple, three RBI and two stolen bases.
- Skoly recorded a multi-hit game finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and an RBI.
- Sophomore Megan Ricci (Center Moriches, N.Y.) also picked up a two-hit bid with a pair of singles and went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
- Sharon (0-1) was dealt the loss inside the circle for USJ surrendering seven runs (five earned) on seven hits over four innings of work. She struck out a pair and walked two.
- Freshman Alessandra Milardo (Plantsville, Conn.) came on in relief making her first collegiate appearance and spun the final three frames allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits and walked one.
- Goots paced the Fighting Scots at the dish finishing 3-for-4 with a double, triple, five RBI and three runs scored. She also picked up the save inside the circle coming on in the bottom of the sixth and worked 1.1 innings of hitless ball while striking out a pair.
- Escobar (1-0) grabbed the win for OVU coming on in relief in the bottom of the fourth inning. She pitched two innings and allowed one unearned run on one hit.
The USJ softball team will be back in action on Saturday in its second day of the Fastpitch Dreams Spring Classic with a split doubleheader. They will first square off with Lesley at 9:30 a.m. before taking on Alfred St. at 1:30 p.m.