By Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor
photo courtesy of towsontigers.com
After three weeks without a game the Tigers finally took the field this weekend in the UNCG Tournament. Towson split their four-game slate in North Carolina.
“It could have been a negative, but the girls did a great job when they weren’t playing,” said Head Coach Lisa Costello.
The weekend concluded with a rematch against the Spartans and immediately looked promising for Towson (6-6) as UNCG (12-10) committed two errors in the first inning. Senior outfielder Kendall Arcia hit a home run to allow freshman outfielder Nicole Kidwiler and sophomore catcher Riley Thies to touch home plate on a three-run blast to left field. The Spartans responded with a run coming off a double to cut Towson’s lead to 3-1.
Junior pitcher Julia Smith-Harrington hit a home run to left field to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead in the third inning. UNCG tried to retaliate in the seventh inning with a home run to left field.
It was too little too late for the Spartans as Towson finished the weekend with a 4-2 victory. Smith-Harrington pitched a complete game, allowing three hits and two runs while striking out nine batters. Her record improves to 3-0 on the season with an ERA of 0.39.
“She did a really good job at hitting her spots and mixed speeds well,” Costello said. “She had a bunch of strikeouts and kept them off balance.”
Arcia led the Tigers with a 2-3 game including three RBI and a home run. She was the only Tiger with multiple hits in a five-hit performance as a team.
The Tigers began Sunday’s slate of games against the Sacred Heart Pioneers and got off to a fast start as Smith-Harrington hit a home run in the second inning to begin the game. Sacred Heart (8-7) responded with five runs in the bottom of the second inning.
Towson answered back in the fifth inning with Smith-Harrington bringing home a run with a bases loaded walk. The Tigers’ attempt at a comeback came up short as they fell to the Pioneers 5-2.
Redshirt junior pitcher Ashley Cruise got the start on the mound, allowing six hits and five runs through three innings of work. Freshman pitcher Breanna McDowell entered in the fourth inning and allowed two hits in her three innings of relief. Seven of the nine Towson batters failed to record a hit compared to five batters from Sacred Heart who recorded a hit.
They are a very good hitting team and we made some mistakes,” Costello said. “We didn’t make the plays we normally make and anything that could’ve gone wrong did.”
In game two on Saturday, the Tigers looked to rebound against St. Peter’s. The Peacocks (2-9) hit a two-run home run to lead off the game. Towson would recover, shutting the Peacocks out for the remainder of the game.
Smith-Harrington reached second on a fielder’s choice leading to sophomore catcher Riley Thies scoring on a St. Peter’s error. Freshman third baseman Nicole Poulich singled, collecting two RBIs as Smith-Harrington and senior utility Nicole Stockinger scored.
Freshman first baseman Reyan Tuck reached on an error that brought home Poulich. The Tigers ended the first inning with a 4-2 lead and would add to it in the third as Smith-Harrington, junior catcher Lindsey Toneygay and Tuck registered RBIs. Stockinger hit a two RBI double in the fourth inning to extend Towson’s lead to 8-2.
After a sacrifice fly from Smith-Harrington, Poulich concluded the scoring with a two-base hit off a fielder’s choice and beating the throw to second. She would bring Stockinger home to wrap up the scoring as Towson was victorious 10-2.
“We took advantage of their mistakes and hit the ball hard, we ran the bases well,” Costello said.
Towson began the weekend series against the hometown UNCG Spartans on Saturday morning.
Senior outfielder Kendall Arcia responded to a UNCG home run with a two-RBI double in the third inning and beat the throw to third base.
Smith-Harrington added to the Tigers lead advancing to second off a Spartans error allowing Arcia to score. Towson continued its offensive success as freshman pitcher Sara Johnson hit an RBI double to left field. Junior shortstop Jaclyn Mounie made it to second off the second UNCG error of the game and it proved costly as Johnson would score to give Towson a 5-1 lead.
Mounie scored another run in the third inning off a base hit from freshman third baseman Jess DaBreo. After two scoreless innings from both teams, the Spartans responded to Towson’s six unanswered runs with a five-run sixth inning to tie the game.
After losing the lead, the Tigers gained it back with a two-run home run in the seventh inning by Arcia. Johnson added to the Towson lead off a double but was thrown out a third base, giving the Tigers a 9-6 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh.
UNCG would answer with four runs of their own, resulting in a 10-9 Spartan victory. Johnson pitched 5.1 innings allowing seven hits and four runs, recording four strikeouts. Sophomore Melissa Abrahamian gave up six runs and was credited with the loss.