Balk’s walk-off single seals win over Longwood
Towson improved its record to 7-5 with a 1-0 extra-inning victory Sunday over Longwood University (3-1) to take a split at the Longwood Spring Classic in Farmville, Va.
It was a classic pitcher’s duel. Towson finally broke through in the eighth inning. A sacrifice bunt by freshman infielder Holiday Cahill allowed sophomore infielder Courtney Johnson to reach third base. Junior infielder Hailey Balk continued her clutch hitting with a single to drive in Johnson and win the game for the Tigers. It was Balk’s second walk-off hit of the season.
“I was just looking for something I could put out of the infield,” Balk said. “She just came with a little too much plate and I took advantage of it.”
Sophomore pitcher Ambar Hickman pitched a complete game to improve her record to 4-0 on the season with a 2.90 earned run average.
“I think Ambar was successful because her style of pitching worked well with the type of hitters they were,” Balk said. “They’re really aggressive hitters and struggled with how well Ambar spins the ball. They couldn’t make any adjustments and she was resilient when runners got on base.”
Towson defeated Lafayette College (1-3) 6-2 in its first game Sunday. Junior pitcher Missy McCormick bounced back after a tough outing Saturday and pitched a complete game allowing just one earned run.
Towson took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off an RBI single by senior third baseman Delanie Dunham. Towson tacked on two more runs in the second inning with the help of RBI doubles by freshman outfielder Jessica South and sophomore outfielder Olivia Yarbrough. Yarbrough went 3-for-4 in the game with two runs batted in and two runs scored.
McCormick closed the game out by forcing a groundout. She improved her record to 3-2 on the season with a 3.54 earned run average.
Towson fell 8-6 to Lafayette in extra innings in the first game of the Classic on Saturday. Freshman pitcher Megan Chocallo pitched all 11 innings, allowing just three earned runs.
The game was tied at four heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. South hit a two-run home run to give Towson a 4-2 lead. Lafayette bounced back to tie the game in the top of the seventh inning with the help of two hits and an error by Towson.
Lafayette took a 5-4 lead in the eighth inning, but Towson responded by tying the game off an RBI double by sophomore Caitie Barber. Towson tied the game in the 10th inning with an RBI single by South after being down by one again. South has made a huge impact so far for Towson in her first season with the team. South has 10 hits in 21 at-bats this season.
A costly throwing error by senior third baseman Delanie Dunham in the 11th inning gave Lafayette a two-run lead, which they held onto for the win.
“That was the toughest loss this weekend,” Dunham said. “We answered back and they did the same and it didn’t end in our favor, but it definitely lit a fire under us to go out and beat them today.”
In its second game Saturday, Towson lost 9-1 to Longwood. Longwood shut down the Towson offense after it had scored a run in the first inning. McCormick struggled to get in a groove on the mound. She allowed five runs on eight hits.
Towson is excited to be playing at home next weekend after playing 12 straight road games to start the season.
“We are ready to bring it,” McCormick said. “We have been facing teams with a lot of fans and now it is our turn to represent our school on our own turf.”
Towson will take part in the Tiger Invitational at home next weekend at the Tiger Softball Complex. It will take on Rhode Island in the first of four games beginning Friday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m.