WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new era in Gallaudet University softball began on Tuesday afternoon at the GU Softball Field as the Bison started the 2010 season against Southern Virginia University in a non-conference doubleheader. The games marked the first for interim head coach Kitty Bottoms as she made her debut after serving as an assistant coach for four years under former head coach Sarah Doleac, who led the Bison for the 25 years.
The Bison (0-2) lost both games 8-0 and 19-5 in five innings against the Knights (3-3), a member of the USCAA. In the first game SVU pitcher Kyla Christmas (2-1) threw a perfect game as she struck out 10 Bison and did not allow a hit or a base runner. Christmas also pitched three innings in the second game to earn her second win of the season. SVU scored three runs in the first and second innings off Gallaudet junior pitcher Alicia Balzer (Montgomery Village, Md.) and added two more runs in the third. Balzer went the distance as she allowed eight runs (four earned) on 14 hits, walked three and struck out one.
In the second game, Gallaudet fell behind 9-0 as starting pitcher Nicole O’Malley (Fredericksburg, Va.) lasted one inning as she surrendered seven hits and walked three.
The Bison showed some life in the bottom half of the inning as a fielding error got things started for the Buff and Blue. Junior Jessica Buckwalter (Palmyra, Mo.) and junior Mandie Smith (Chicago, Ill.) followed with singles as they eventually came around to score and cut the lead to six, 9-3, after one.
O'Malley's replacement in the circle was freshman Alicia Johnson (San Jose, Calif.), who had a hard time finding the strike zone. She allowed seven runs without giving up a hit as she pitched through the second inning and started the third inning. Johnson hit three batters and walked seven. Coach Bottoms then brought Balzer back in to finish out the game.
GU plated one run in the second inning and one in the third inning. Freshman shortstop Kara Gulvas (Crown Point, Ind.) had two RBIs in the second game including a single to center field in the third inning that scored Johnson.
SVU was led offensively by senior Abbie Fisher as she batted a combined 7-for-8, scored five runs, record 10 RBIs, had a double and blasted two home runs, one of which went off the Bison scoreboard in left field. Christmas was 5-for-7, three runs scored, three RBIs and a two-run home run to center field in the second game.
Gallaudet will look to bounce back tomorrow (Wednesday, March 10) against Wilson College in a doubleheader that begins at 3 p.m.