Catamounts get one win at Charlotte First Pitch Classic

Played in Charlotte, the First Pitch Classic would be the Catamount softball team’s first tournament of the season. In the tournament, however, the Catamounts would not fare as well as they’d hoped. The Catamounts played four games in two days and only got one win out of the deal. In the opener against Marshall, the Catamounts lost a nail-biter to Marshall 10-8. Ahead 8-5 in the bottom of the sixth, the Catamounts gave up five runs in the inning helping guide the herd to the close victory. The Catamounts were led by freshman Serena Smith, who went 4-for-4 against Marshall and batted in one RBI and scored two runs for WCU. Sophomore Lauren Ross was 2-for-4 against the Herd as she compiled two RBIs for Western. Junior Savannah Filley was credited with the loss marking her second loss of the season. She pitched 3.1 innings and gave up eight hits, five walks and a strikeout. The next game would be the success story for Western. They ended the UNC-Charlotte 49ers’ undefeated streak by winning 4-2. At the time, the 49ers were 12&0 on the season, but after playing the Catamounts, the zero in their record vanished. Freshman Serena Smith recorded her only RBI of the day as she brought home sophomore Mendy McKenzie who scored from first following the Smith’s double towards right center. That put the Catamounts ahead early at 1-0, and the score would not stay that way for long. Smith was brought home by an RBI, after Ross hit a single towards toward leftfield. Ross came home following a two out single up the middle by freshman Danielle Reese who hit the ball up the middle. The strong first inning put WCU up 3-0 early on in the contest. In the bottom of the third inning, junior transfer Jamie Swank knocked a two-out single down the left field line. She would eventually score from first when sophomore Beth Hauser doubled to right field. Sophomore Lauren Ross earned her first win of the season as she pitched seven solid innings. She gave up two runs and four hits, as well as six strikeouts in the contest. Ross moved to 1&1 on the season with the victory. The next two games against Drexel and conference foe UNC-G would not go according to plan. The Catamounts and the Drexel Dragons combined for 24 hits, but the Dragons would rally on a total of 11 runs scored in the third and fourth innings en route to the 13-8 victory over Western. In the top of the fourth, the Catamounts tied the game at six apiece in the top of the fourth after scoring two runs. However, the Dragons scored five runs in the bottom of the inning and put the Dragons ahead for good.Sophomore Mendy McKenzie went 3-of-5 against the Dragons and scored three runs for the Catamounts. However, she was one of three Catamount pitchers on the day and she was credited with the loss putting her at 1&4 on the season.In the second game, the Catamounts made five errors, and it was costly as the Spartans defeated WCU 8-2. The game looked like it would belong to Western early on after Smith blasted her first homerun of the season and of her career to center field. However, two straight doubles off of pitcher Savannah Filley would tie the contest up at 1 apiece in the bottom of the inning. In the third inning, the Catamounts would score again as sophomore Stephanie Beatty advanced sophomore Sam Stepp to third and Smith to second. Following a wild pitch, Smith would touch the plate giving the Catamounts the 2-1 lead. However, that would be all she wrote for Western as they gave up at least one run in the next four innings as UNC-G marched to the 8-2 victory.The Catamounts fell to 2&8 on the regular season after the two losses, and still have a long way to go in order to get them to where they were last year. However, if they can play the way they did against UNC-Charlotte for the remainder of the season, then there is no question that the Catamounts can climb back into the standings and achieve in the SoCon.