WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University softball team swept a doubleheader on opening day against Baptist Bible (Pa.) College at the GU Softball Complex on a cold, blustery and raw Saturday. The Bison won 9-6 and 9-5, respectively.
Gallaudet (2-0) was out hit by Baptist Bible 8-5 in the first game but was able to turn five of their seven walks into runs.
Baptist Bible (0-2) started out the first inning of the first game strong as it put two runs on the board, including a home run over the left field fence by Jenna Bont.
The Bison answered with three runs of their own in the bottom half. Junior pitcher Rachel Sweigart (Big Rock, Ill.) doubled with one out to score Kara Gulvas (Crown Point, Ind.) and Alicia Johnson (San Jose, Calif.). Sweigart advanced to third on a throwing error by second baseman Corin Landry. Sophomore second basemen Mia Fernandez singled up the middle to score Sweigart and give Gallaudet its first lead of the season.
The Bison had another big inning in the fourth inning as they trailed 5-3. First baseman Caitlin Stevens (Glen Allen, Va.) and sophomore right fielder Elena Ciccarelli (Whitesboro, N.Y.) reached on back-to-back walks, scored when freshman left fielder Kelsey Hudson (Blissfield, Mich.) doubled down the left field line to tie the score at five. Hudson scored the third run of the inning when senior catcher Nicole O'Malley (Fredericksburg, Va.) reached on a fielding error by right fielder Aleisha Buchanan. O'Malley advanced to third base on a ground out by Gulvas and was able to score during the same play on a throwing error by Hannah Strayer to push the score to 7-5.
GU held onto the lead as Baptist Bible was only able to come up with one more run, while the Bison tacked on two more in the sixth inning as they celebrated a 9-6 win.
Sweigart (1-0) pitched a complete game and earned her first win of the season as she struck out six batters, she also went 1-for-3 with a double at the plate, had two RBIs and one run scored. In Hudson's first collegiate softball game she went 1-for-2 with a double, two RBIs and one run scored.
Jenna Bont (0-1) pitched a complete game for Baptist Bible and had six strikeouts to go with her home run at the plate. Catcher Karin Mowry went 2-for-4 for the Defenders with one RBI and a stolen base.
Sophomore Montana Murphy (Simi Valley, Calif.) started the second game off with four consecutive outs as the Bison struck first with a run in the bottom of the first before the Defenders answered with a run in the second.
The Bison's bats really came alive in the fourth inning as Stevens and Ciccarelli reached on singles. Freshman Zamica Gage (Austin, Texas) pinch ran for Stevens and promptly stole second base. Hudson reached first on a fielding error by pitcher Amber Kachelries. Gage and Ciccarelli both scored on a double by O'Malley, who advanced to third on the throw. Hudson scored on the same throwing error by pitcher Amber Kachelries to bring the score to 6-4. O'Malley scored another run on Gulvas' sacrifice fly to center field.
Murphy (1-0) earned her first win of the season and pitched a complete game with four strikeouts and no walks. Johnson went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Ciccarelli went 2-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.
Amber Kachelries (0-1) pitched a complete game for the Defenders as she recorded six strikeouts to go with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, which included a double and two runs scored.
GU will host Mary Baldwin College tomorrow (Sunday, March 3) in a doubleheader set to start at 1 p.m.