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ECU’s surge ends strongest season start since ‘09

10 February 2013 By Nicole Gould, Contributing Writer No Comments

Towson kicked off its season at the Pirate Classic in Greenville, N.C., where it walked away with a 4-1 record.

The three-day tournament began Friday. The Tigers faced Cleveland State, capturing a 9-2 victory. Starting off strong, sophomore shortstop Hailey Balk hit an RBI single, running in freshman centerfielder Olivia Yarbrough in the first inning.

Freshman catcher Caitie Barber hit an RBI double in the second inning, bringing in junior right fielder Maureen Hepner, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Coming into the third inning, Towson continued its solid offensive game.

Barber and senior first basemen Bina Abbott both hit home runs, adding to the Tigers’ overall score. With determination, Towson piled up six runs in the sixth inning to win the game.

Coming off a successful 2012 season, senior pitcher Katie Lingmai pitched the entire game and finished with seven strikeouts.

Towson carried the adrenaline from its first win into its second game Friday against Ohio.

With an aggressive start, junior third basemen Delanie Dunham hit a double, driving in two runs for the Tigers. Not short after, Ohio tied the game 3-3 when Lauren Gellerman hit a homerun.

The Tigers responded quickly. Hitting a home run to left field, senior catcher Jillian Donnelly pulled the Tigers ahead 4-3. Thanks to a throwing error by the Buckeyes, freshman infielder Juliana Natoli scored another run for Towson. Adding to Towson’s score, sophomore infielder Macie McGeehan hit a two-run triple to right center, giving the team a 7-5 lead.

The game against Ohio was the first start of freshman pitcher Ambar Hickman’s career. She pitched the first three innings, striking out four batters. Dunham finished the game with three hits, two runs batted in, and two runs scored.

Not only did Towson walk away with two wins Friday, but Head Coach Lisa Costello reached a milestone her own. Friday’s second victory marked Costello’s 500th career win. This makes her the winningest head coach in program history.

Towson faced Cleveland State again Saturday. This time, the Tigers walked away with a 7-2 victory over the Vikings.

The most action occurred in the third inning. Yarbrough hit a triple to right center, running in sophomore second baseman Emily Miller. Senior outfielder Kelli Lyons then hit a single, bringing home Yarbrough. Abbott came to the plate later in the inning with the bases loaded and did not disappoint. She hit a double to right center, bringing in both Dunham and Lyons.

Sophomore pitcher Missy McCormick played a large role in Towson’s win. She threw a complete game, including three shut out innings.

Game four was against Rider, where Towson came out with a 4-0 win. During the second inning, Dunham hit her first home run of the season to left field.

In the fifth inning, three players from the Tigers scored, giving them a 4-0 lead over Rider. For Towson, Hickman pitched her first career shut out. This was the Tigers’ first season starting off with a 4-0 record since 2009.

“For us to come out and put up two runs into four games our first two days of playing is tremendous,” Lyons said. “The team played lights out offensively and defensively.”

In their last game on Sunday, against East Carolina, the Tigers were hoping for a 5-0 record. However, the Tigers walked away with their first loss of the season, 10-2.

“We had a great weekend overall. Today we didn’t do the little things well that we had in the previous games, and a loss like that is just something we will have to overcome like great teams do,” Miller said.

Towson will continue its season Friday, Feb. 15 in Charleston, S.C. in the College of Charleston Cougar Classic.

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