Fresno, CA - The University of Toledo softball team opened its 2012 campaign on Thursday, Feb. 9, as they played consecutive games against North Dakota State and 22nd-ranked Fresno State. UT ended the day with a 0-2 record, being topped by North Dakota State in eight innings, 3-1, and losing 9-1 to Fresno State in five innings.
In the opener, both Toledo and NDSU struggled to generate offense, as both teams combined for only one hit and no runs through seven innings. The lone offensive stat was tallied by senior first baseman Jillian Spink, as she doubled in the bottom of the second inning.
Despite NDSU recording their first hit in the top of the seventh inning on a Jamie Gay single, both teams held their ground defensively until the top of the eighth inning, when NDSU manufactured a three-run lead and prevented the Rockets from forging a late comeback.
The Bison opened the eighth inning with Jenna Ortega placed on second base, per the international tie-breaker rule that places the last batter of the previous inning on second base once regulation innings have expired. Ortega was replaced by pinch-runner Presley Glaser, who subsequently advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by second baseman Sam Holien. Later in the inning, Alex Sobrero was put on base as a pinch-runner. Taylor Mortensen then got on base via fielder's choice, posting an RBI as Glaser scored when UT sophomore third baseman Lani Ernst was unable to come up with a grounder. Pinch-running for Mortensen, Brea Konz was able to advance to third and later scored NDSU's third run when Amanda Grable singled to left field.
In the bottom of the eight, the Rockets attempted a late comeback, but came up short as they could only muster one run. Senior centerfielder Brooke Gates began the inning on second base and scored UT's only run when junior Courtney McCarthy drilled the ball into left field and it was fumbled by NDSU's Gay. The next two Toledo batters were retired to end the game.
Freshman Casi Rohr made her collegiate debut on the mound, pitching 7.2 innings. She struck out six batters and walked three, giving up two hits on the day.
In the second game of the day, the Rockets were outhit 8-2 and committed three errors en route to a 9-1 loss at the hands of No. 22 Fresno State.
UT took a 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs in the top of the third inning, as freshman shortstop Allissa Turkovich scored when FSU third basemen Stesha Brazil was unable to handle a one-out groundball hit by junior rightfielder Lindsey Tobias with the bases loaded.
FSU quickly responded in the bottom half of the third inning, as Courtney Moore hit a two-out grand slam off Rocket freshman pitcher Alli Beery.
The Bulldogs piled on five more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, in the form of a leadoff solo homerun by first baseman Michelle Moses, followed by a three-run jack by catcher Kaitlin Griffin to end the game.
Beery is credited with the loss, allowing four earned runs on five hits in 2.2 innings on the mound. She walked two batters and struck out one.
The Rockets (0-2, 0-0 MAC) will take the field again Friday night at 7:30 p.m. EST as they take on Long Beach State.
Contact: Brad Pettiford