UNCG Softball season opened up this past weekend, entering the year with high hopes and great potential. The team is the defending regular season SoCon (Southern Conference) champions. Prior to the start of the season, the Spartans were named the favorites in the SoCon (Southern Conference) and netted five players on the first and second All-SoCon preseason team.
This opening weekend, the Spartans brought home two victories and a loss this past weekend, facing Presbyterian, Iowa State, Coastal Carolina and Saint Francis University at Coastal Carolina University (CCU). UNCG shut out Iowa State on Sunday, winning two games. UNCG lost to the hosts, with that being their only loss for the entire tournament. The Kickin Chickin’ Classic was won by CCU, who beat all four of their visitors.
UNCG’s opener versus Presbyterian was a cakewalk for the Spartans. The Spartans scored a total of fourteen unanswered runs in the game. Makenna Mathijs, Marisa Sholtes and Gabrielle Cubbage snatched three runs each. UNCG scored one run in the first inning, five in the second inning and none in the third. In the fourth and fifth innings, the Spartans scored four runs in each respective inning. UNCG had thirty batting appearances to Presbyterian’s sixteen. UNCG also had fifteen hits, to Presbyterian’s one
.The game against St Francis was a close one. In the first inning, UNCG scored four runs against St Francis. St Francis then managed to get two runs on the board. The second inning was scoreless, but the third inning saw the Spartans put three unanswered runs on the scoreboard. In the fourth and fifth innings, Saint Francis rallied, scoring three unanswered runs in each inning. In the sixth inning, the scoreboard remained untouched by either the Spartans or St Francis. In the seventh inning, UNCG clutched victory from the jaws of defeat by scoring two runs. This brought the final score of the game to 9-8 to the Spartans. Gabrielle Cubbage, Marisa Sholtes and Kayleigh Willis all tied with two runs each. Emily Acquaviva and Alexis Overdiep each scored a run. Willis leads with three total hits.
The Coastal Carolina game came next, and going by the official scorecard, the game seemed fairly entrenched. Neither team could really strike a decisive blow against each other. The first inning ended with nothing on the scoreboard. The second saw Marisa Sholtes of the Spartans score a run, putting them on top of the hosts. The third inning saw the Spartans remain on top with one run to CCU’s zero. The fourth inning saw the hosts score two unanswered runs. By the sixth inning, UNCG had been unable to answer those runs.
The next morning UNCG faced Iowa State. Again, the game seemed to be close, with only two runs being scored the entire game. Emily Acquaviva and Alexis Overdiep scored the two runs in the second inning. Interestingly enough, Iowa State hit the ball eight times to UNCG’s three. UNCG also had 24 batting appearances to Iowa State’s 28, the suggestion being that Iowa State had plenty of chances to even the scoreboard, yet somehow could not.
On Feb. 16, UNCG Softball travels to Madeira Beach, Florida to play another tournament. This time they will play Massachusetts, Ohio, University of Missouri – Kansas City, Virginia and Lipscomb University in the Eastern Michigan Madeira Beach Spring Invitational.