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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

NCCU Rallies Back To Shock Eastern Shore

Game Two Suspended Due To Weather

PRINCESS ANNE, Maryland — The University of Maryland Eastern Shore softball team looked to be on their way to their fifth straight win on Saturday (March 26) against the North Carolina Central University Eagles after four innings of play.

However, the final three innings saw the Eagles score 10 runs to respond back and win game one of the two team’s doubleheader 11-9. Game two was tied at six after five innings of play but was suspended because of rain. The game will resume tomorrow (March 27) at noon.

The Hawks got off to a fast start in game one. Sophomore Tatum Kresley began the bottom of the first inning with a bunt single and advanced to second on an error. Two batters later, sophomore Julia Garcia singled to left field to score Kresley and put the squad up 1-0.

One inning later, the Hawks loaded the bases after a groundout started the inning. Kresley then singled up the middle to bring freshman Kylee Lehman across home plate. Sophomore Ameenah Ballenger came up after that and hit a sacrifice fly into center field to score freshman McKenzie Abiley and put the team up 3-0.

Garcia stepped in the batter’s box after that and drove a single into left field. She would get two RBIs on the play as sophomore Ah-Nayia Oglesby and Kresley came in to score. The Shore led 5-0 after two innings of play.

North Carolina Central would score one run in the top of the third, but that was quickly answered in the bottom of the frame. Freshman Nola Mountain singled to start the Hawks’ rally. Lehman would lay down a sacrifice bunt and then a wild pitch placed Mountain on third. Abiley then drew a walk to put runners on the corners.

Abiley would then steal second base and the throw to potentially get her out traveled into the center-field grass. That allowed Mountain to score and Abiley moved over to the third base. Oglesby would then execute a suicide squeeze to bring Abiley across home plate and put the team ahead 7-1.

Eastern Shore continued their strong offensive production in the fourth inning. Garcia began the bottom of the frame with a walk and junior Saje Kurpiela came in to pinch run for her. After a walk by sophomore Kelsie Ekstrom, freshman Rebecca Miller laid down another sacrifice bunt for the Hawks to place runners on second and third. The Eagles would then throw a wild pitch which allowed Kurpiela to score and made the score 8-1.

The top of the fifth inning was when North Carolina Central began their rally. Maryland Eastern Shore got the first two batters of the inning out, but a single from Christy Burroughs got NCCU their first base runner of the inning.

They would then load the bases following a hit by pitch, a wild pitch, and a walk. Jaylah Barr then drew another walk to force in a run and make the score 8-2. Madison Mifsud then changed the dynamics of the game with one swing of the bat. She hit a grand slam to right field where the ball hit the top of the fence before going over.

One inning later, the Eagles would tie the game up at 8-8. The damage could have been worse as NC Central was going for the go-ahead run, but Ballenger threw out the potential go-ahead run from left field to end the inning.

The Eagles would complete their comeback in the seventh inning. Ashanti Eubanks singled up the middle to score the ninth run of the game for NCCU. North Carolina Central would get two more runs in the frame to go up 11-8 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Oglesby singled to begin the frame and would get to second on a wild pitch. Kresley was up next and struck out, but a dropped third strike allowed her to get on first and Oglesby advanced to third. Kresley would steal second to put both runners in scoring position.

Two batters later, Garcia stepped up to bat with one out and runners on second and third. She drove a pitch high and far into left field, but the ball did not carry over the fence and was caught on the warning track. The out resulted in a sacrifice fly that brought Oglesby in to score. The Shore would not get any more base runners in the game as the Eagles secured the victory.

Kresley went 4-5 in the game with two runs scored and an RBI. She also pitched 1.1 innings in relief and had a strikeout. Garcia was 2-2 with two walks and four RBI.

The second game of the day saw the Eagles score first. They got one run in the top of the first to go ahead 1-0. The Shore responded by scoring four runs in the second inning.

Miller reached on an error to start the inning and advanced to second on the play. She would eventually get to third before graduate student Kaylyn Sterling singled through the left side to score Miller and tie the game at one.

Oglesby singled after that to place runners on first and third. The Hawks would then complete a double steal to take the lead as Sterling scored on the play. Kresley then singled on a bunt and an errant throw to first allowed her to get to second and Oglesby to score to put the squad up 3-1.

Junior Tyanna Roberts kept the inning going after that with an RBI single to left field to score Kresley. Eastern Shore led 4-1 going into the third inning. 

NC Central got one run back in the third to make the score 4-2. They would then get four more in the top of the fourth inning to lead 6-4.

The Hawks loaded the bases to begin the bottom of the frame following a walk by Oglesby, a single by Kresley, and a walk by Garcia. Ekstrom then singled up the middle to score Oglesby and Kresley and the score was notched at four.

Both teams orchestrated a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth. As the sixth inning was about to start, dark clouds began to engulf Hawk Field and the umpires chose to suspend play as the rain started. The game will resume tomorrow at noon with Jaden Davis up to bat for the Eagles.

When the game was suspended, Ballenger was the only pitcher that had thrown for the Hawks in the game. She currently has eight strikeouts in the game with three walks allowed.

After the second game of the doubleheader is finished, the Hawks and Eagles will play the final game of their weekend series.

For more information on Eastern Shore Athletics visit http://www.easternshorehawks.com/.

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