JACKSONVILLE, Alabama - The Mount St. Joseph University softball team headed south for their first of two consecutive weekends of action in the state of Alabama over the weekend. The Lions traveled to Jacksonville State University to take part in a weekend of softball hosted by Birmingham Southern. Over the course of four games the Lions three times squared off with a team in the NFCA Division III top-25. On Saturday they swept a double-header vs. Emory & Henry and then #15 Birmingham Southern. Followed by a Sunday which saw them drop a pair of one run games to #15 Birmingham Southern and #24 DePauw.
SATURDAY - GAME ONE - MSJ 7 - Emory & Henry 5
In game one of the 2020 season coach Beth Goderwis turned the ball over to her ace, Sarah Miller (Fishers, Ind./St. Theodore Guerin). After starting the game with a 1-2-3 bottom of the first inning, the second frame would not be as kind to Miller. She allowed a lead-off homerun, followed by a single and a one-out triple, putting the Lions behind 2-0.
The Lions drew within one in the top of the fourth inning, as Rachel Gabbard (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands) drew a bases loaded walk to drive in the first run of her Mount career. Emory & Henry answered right back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning keeping a two-run cushion.
The Mount again answered in the top of the fifth as Miller doubled into right center, scoring Brooke Otto (Brookville, Ind./Franklin Co.) from second base. But again the Wasps answered in the bottom of the frame. This time they pushed across two runs, advancing their lead out to 5-2.
Both teams were scoreless in the sixth inning, that put the Lions in a tough spot going into the seventh inning. Alehia Tucker (Covington, Ky./Holy Cross) led off the inning reaching on a throwing error by the pitcher, after which she advanced all the way to third base. Tucker scored on a passed ball to make it 5-3. Four batters later Sara Kardos (Lexington, Ky./Tates Creek) drilled a two single up the middle. Then down to their last out, Gabbard singled up the middle to drive in another two runs and give the Lions their first lead of the game.
Kamryn McCool (Brookville, Ind./Franklin Co.) releived Miller in the bottom of the seventh inning, and pitched a 1-2-3 frame to get her first save of the season.
SATURDAY - GAME TWO - MSJ 4 - BSC 2
In game two the Lions squared off with #15 team in the nation the Panthers of Birmingham Southern. Coach Goderwis sent sophomore Kendall McCool (Brookville, Ind./Franklin Co.) to the circle to open the game. Kendall gave the Lions a solid start, pitching four innings of five hit two-run ball to get the win.
The Lions jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Elizabeth Ivers (Shelbyville, Ky./Shelby Co.) led off the inning with a basehit down the right field line, Gracie Woodyard (Plainfield, Ind./Avon) then singled to short. With two outs Ali Lang (Eminence, Ind./Martinsville) reached on an error by the catcher, setting the stage for Tucker. Tucker planted a bases clearing double into left center, putting the Lions up 3-0.
The score remained the same until BSC scored a pair of runs in the fifth inning to cut the score to 3-2. The Lions added their fourth run in the top of the seventh with Brooke Otto singling up the middle to score Tucker.
Tucker was 3-for-3 with 3 RBI and a pair of steals in the 4-2 win.
Kamryn McCool threw three scoreless innings in relief to pick up her second save of the day!
SUNDAY - GAME ONE - BSC 6 - MSJ 5
In the first game of the day on Sunday the Lions again squared off with #15 Birmingham Southern. This time Coach Goderwis turned the ball to freshman Gracie Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mercy-McAuley). It was a tough task for the freshman in her first collegiate action, and she equated herself pretty well. She went three innings allowing two hits and two earned runs.
She gave way to Kamryn McCool in the fourth inning. Kam pitched 3.2 innings of five hit ball, allowing four earned runs and took her first loss of the season.
The Lions again jumped ahead early in this one, as Tucker led the game off with a single into right and promptly stole second base. She scored on a base hit into left center by Otto. They then added to their lead in the top of the third as Tucker drilled her first homerun of the season to straight away left field.
BSC clawed back to tie the game in the bottom of the third, and then took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Lions answered right back with a pair in the top of the sixth to knot the score at four. They did so on the first career homerun off the bat of Rachel Gabbard.
They then took the 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh inning, as Sara Kardos delivered a pinch-hit basehit to score Tucker from second base.
Birmingham was not done though as they scored two in the bottom of the seventh to secure the walk-off win.
SUNDAY - GAME TWO - DEPAUW 2 - MSJ 1
For the third game in a row the Lions squared off with a team currently ranked in the NFCA Division III top-25. This time it was the Tigers of DePauw on the other side of the diamond who are currently #24 in the nation.
The game was an absolute pitchers dual as both teams ace took to the circle. For the Lions that meant junior Sarah Miller returned to the mound to start the game. She allowed six hits and only two runs to go along with four strikeouts. Despite the phenomenal start she was outdueled by Cami Henry of DePauw.
The Lions offense struggled all game against Henry, to the tune of just four hits and single run. That lone run came in the bottom of the first inning as Elizabeth Ivers singled in Tucker, Brooke Otto was thrown out at the plate on the play.
After the two hit first inning The Mount mustered only two more hits the entire game. DePauw scored a run in the second to tie it, and then a run in the top of the sixth would put them ahead for good.
Up next the Lions will again travel to the state of Alabama as next weekend the travel to Huntingdon. Where they will play Huntingdon and Berry on both Saturday and Sunday next weekend. These will be the Lions last games before their annual spring break trip to The Spring Games in Florida over spring break. Tune into MSJsports.com for all of your Lions softball coverage this season!