Softball Opens 2014 Campaign With Five Games

Jack Murray

The Raiders opened up their 2014 campaign this past weekend, participating in the Charleston Southern Tournament in South Carolina. Facing top-notch competition, the Raiders dropped two contests to the host team, two contests to Eastern Illinois and one to Appalachian State.

Facing the Appalachian State Mountaineers in their first matchup of the weekend, the Raiders sent sophomore pitcher Brigit Ieuter to the mound. Ieuter gave the Raiders six and a third strong innings and only allowed three runs on five hits. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the offense wasn’t there to back Ieuter’s strong outing.

After allowing a two-run triple in the second inning, the Raiders responded with a run in the fourth and fifth innings. First-year center fielder Tara Grennan’s sacrifice fly scored the first Raiders run, while first-year left fielder Katie Bushee tripled in a run an inning later. Bushee went 3-3 on the day with an RBI.

The Raiders remained deadlocked with the Mountaineers until the bottom of the final inning, when they were able to score the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly. The Mountaineers took home a 3-2

victory despite a strong effort from the Raiders.

Later that day, the Raiders played the first of two games of the weekend against the host team, Charleston Southern. Sophomore shortstop Marisa Dowling got the Raiders off to a hot start with a three-run home run in the first inning. The Raiders followed that up in the second inning with Dowling driving in two more runs and senior center fielder Tera Vaughn driving in another.

The Raiders 6-0 lead did not last long, however, as the Buccaneers got to first-year pitcher Gillian Murray, getting two runs in the second inning and two more by the end of the fourth. Sophomore Megan Carnase came in relief, but Charleston Southern stayed hot and scored three more runs in the fifth inning, giving them the lead. After their hot start, the Raiders could not muster anything as they were held to just four hits in the final four innings and picked up a 7-6 loss.

The next day the Raiders had two games against the Eastern Illinois Panthers. The Raiders fell in their first game 5-0 and could not seem to get past the Panthers’ strong pitching. The Raiders saw a much better outing from Carnase, going the full seven innings and allowing just nine hits. The Raiders, unfortunately, only had two hits in the game, with Bushee recording a double and Dowling a single.

The next game against the Panthers, however, turned out to be much more competitive. In an extra innings barnburner, the Raiders went back and forth with the Panthers, but fell in the ninth inning on a walk by Ieuter. Dowling continued her strong play on the weekend, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Grennan’s two-RBI single in the first inning got the Raiders out to an early lead, but a shaky start again from Murray allowed the Panthers back in the game.

After Dowling got in the tying run in the seventh, Murray, who switched to designated hitter, doubled in Grennan to put the Raiders up 5-4. The Panthers, however, responded in the bottom of the eighth to tie up the game, and then won the game in the ninth.

Wrapping up the weekend the next day with a final matchup against Charleston Southern, the Raiders bats went flat again, recording just three hits in an 8-0 loss. The Raiders were plagued by errors, committing three on the day and making the job for Ieuter much more difficult.

After a tough weekend, the Raiders look to recover traveling far again this weekend. They will head down to Orlando for the University of Central Florida tournament, where they will again play five games in three days.

Contact Jack Murray at [email protected].