Softball opens ASUN game with double dominance over North Florida
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03/19/2023 | 11am
March 19 (Sunday) / 11 a.m.
History CONWAY, Ark. – Opening the ASUN game with a doubleheader against North Florida, the Bears won both sets against the Ospreys on Saturday, winning the first game 1-0 before moving on to a second game 13-4. The wins improved Central Arkansas to 17-7 on the year with a 2-0 start to the conference game.
The Bears hit three homers on the day, including firsts for Madi Young and Janiah Wilson. Game 2 saw Central Arkansas hit a season-high 13 runs, all in the third and fourth innings.
Game 1: UCA – 1, North Florida – 0
Game 1 of the series saw both teams with a base runner in the first inning, with the Ospreys reaching first base via an error and Madi Young reaching second with a single and a stolen base. But neither team really threatened in the first, or leading the second, in the case of UNF.
Morgan Nelson threatened and delivered within half of the second at home, starting with a 1-0 count and driving the next pitch to center immediately. The home run was Nelson’s team’s fourth lead of the season and gave Central Arkansas a 1-0 lead early in the game.
Jordan Johnson took over from there, limiting North Florida to just one base runner in each of the next four innings, forcing the Osprey roster to put the ball in play against one of the best defenses in the game. country. It wasn’t until the top of the seventh that the UNF had multiple base runners, with a single and a walk putting the Ospreys first and second with one out. Kylie Griffin played head-up defense on the next batter, getting a second out on a foul ball, putting the Bears in the driver’s seat needing one more out. Johnson pitched on a 3-1 tally, risking to charge the goals, but refocused and delivered back-to-back strikes to end the game. It was the third shutout of the season for Johnson, who went 7-3 that year.
Game 2: UCA – 13, North Florida – 4
The Bears had a slower start to Game 2, moving a runner to third base late in the first, but blocked her before they reached home. Then in the second, the Bears let the Ospreys score the first run of the second inning.
But the offense came out in the third inning, now facing a new pitcher, opening up straight away with a triple from Erin Michael. Normally a pinch runner, he scored the first hit of the year for the rookie, who offloaded one on a 1-0 pitch. Jenna Wildeman and Tremere Harris both tied the game, charging the bases with no outs. Now at the plate, Kylie Griffin tied the game on a sacrificial volley to the shallow left, allowing Michael to accelerate home to tie the game at 1-1.
The WIldeman-Harris combo flew in for second and third, and Madi Young followed that up with another walk to load the bases. With speed on every base, Mary Kate Brown hit a double to left center, sending two runs home to take the lead and Young to third, forcing a second pitch change by the Ospreys.
But the change didn’t make a difference, as Morgan Nelson ripped a single to score a fourth run in the inning. Colleen Bare continued to pressure North Florida, connecting on a double that stayed just on the right field line that put Brown home. Back at where the order started, Michael hit another extra hit, this one a double, scoring two more runs to make it 7-1.
Going into the fourth at the top of the order, after ten batters had gone to home plate in the third, Harris opened the frame with a first-pitch single to the middle. Griffin singled with her at bat, and suddenly the fourth seemed to be the third. Enter Young, a transfer that lit up Butler CC’s stats last season. Until a 2-2 count, Derby native Kan.
The Bears still weren’t done, as Bare and Nelson got on base to keep the fun going. Hitting pliers for Morgan Curley, Janiah Wilson bombed a three-run homer on her first official at bat of her career, emptying the dugout to celebrate in utter jubilation the first-year hit.
North Florida picked up three runs in the top of the fifth, desperate to extend the game and close the lead, but it was too little, too late as Kayla Beaver earned her tenth win of the season.
The Bears and Ospreys will play another game Sunday morning, with the first pitch scheduled for 11 a.m. at Farris Field.