Tigers split in Kickin’ Chicken Classic
Towson split the weekend tournament by defeating Virginia, 7-2, in the final game of the Kickin’ Chicken Classic in South Carolina.
“We played great,” senior pitcher Missy McCormick said. “This has been the toughest competition we have seen so far.”
Sophomore pitcher Ambar Hickman pitched a complete game, surrendering just two runs against Virginia (1-7). Towson (5-3) ran a two-out rally in the second inning to score six runs.
The rally started when sophomore catcher Caitie Barber reached on an error. The Tigers increased their lead to 3-0 with three singles and a walk. Then with the bases loaded, McCormick blasted a grand slam through center field to give Towson a 7-0 lead.
“[Virginia pitcher Aimee Chapdelaine] threw a curveball that just didn’t curve enough and I made solid contact with it,” McCormick said. “I knew it was out right off the bat.”
In its first game Sunday, Towson fell to Purdue University (4-4-1) 11-7. Towson let up three runs in the first inning and weren’t able to recover.
However, Towson did make it interesting. Down 9-2 in the fifth inning, Towson scored four runs with the help of a three-run home run by senior third baseman Delanie Dunham. Dunham led the team at the plate going 2-for-4 with a home run, three runs batted in, and two runs scored.
Towson would tack on another run in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to just two.
Purdue bounced back with two runs of their own in the sixth inning to increase their lead to 11-7. That proved to be too much for Towson.
Towson defeated Purdue 8-0 in five innings Saturday in the first game of the Kickin’ Chicken Classic. McCormick provided the team a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits.
“That shutout was unbelievable,” McCormick said. “It was one of the best games I’ve pitched in my college career.”
The game was scoreless through four innings. Towson’s offense came alive in the fifth inning, as it was able to score eight runs on seven hits.
“We were the first to jump on some opportunities,” junior shortstop Hailey Balk said. “We really took advantage of the pitches they were giving us.”
Senior Maureen Hepner, who leads the team in batting with a .583 average, started the offensive outburst in the fifth inning with an RBI single to left field. This allowed sophomore Courtney Johnson to score the team’s first run of the game.
Towson continued its run barrage with four more RBI singles before Courtney Johnson ended the game with a walkoff three-run home run.
In its second game Saturday, Towson fell 6-2 to host Coastal Carolina (5-1). Coastal Carolina pitcher Kiana Quolas was able to contain the Towson offense, striking out six and allowing just one earned run in a complete game effort. The junior pitcher has been practically untouchable so far this season, with a 3-0 record and a 0.64 earned run average.
Towson will travel to Farmville, Va. next weekend to take part in the Longwood Spring Classic. It will take on Lafayette Saturday, Feb. 22 at 11 a.m. in the first of four games.