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Towson takes three out of four in USC Upstate Classic

9 February 2014 By Payam Agha-Ghassem, Contributing Writer No Comments

For senior third baseman Delanie Dunham, it was a bittersweet weekend. It was the start of her last season as a Towson Tiger.

“It was exciting, but at the same time a little sad that it’s my last year with these girls,” Dunham said.

Towson (3-1) fell short of a perfect start to the season after losing 7-1 Sunday to the USC Upstate Bears (4-0) in the final day of the University of South Carolina Upstate Classic.

Towson allowed three unearned runs in the second inning, leading to USC Upstate’s 6-0 lead. However, Head Coach Lisa Costello said she is pleased with how her team performed defensively throughout the weekend.

“For having not been outside except for a couple days, I think they did great,” Costello said.

USC upstate would tack on another run in the third inning with an RBI single to right field. Senior Maureen Hepner provided Towson’s only run of the game with a solo home run in the sixth inning.

“When we’re playing a team that hits the ball as well as [USC Upstate] did, our offense needed to respond better,” Dunham said.

In its first game Sunday, Towson scored 18 runs on 19 hits to defeat N.C. Central (0-4) 18-6. Towson scored 12 runs in the third inning alone. Junior pitcher Missy McCormick had a big day at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a three-run home run. She also tied the school record for runs batted in with six.

McCormick batted .533 with two homers and 13 runs batted in this weekend.

“I’m seeing the ball so well right now,” McCormick said. “We have worked really hard as a team on seeing the ball deep in the zone and I definitely took advantage of every pitch I saw.”

Towson’s offense was the story of the weekend. Junior infielder Hailey Balk said the offense is much different than last year’s.

“I think we really made a big statement coming out and scoring a lot of runs,” Balk said. “It’s easy for people to look at last year and say, ‘they’re not a run-producing team,’ but we accepted that challenge and fought that notion.”

In the first game of the USC Upstate classic, Towson defeated Youngstown State (2-2) 7-3. After being hobbled with an injury last season, McCormick came out and pitched a complete game, allowing just one earned run.

“Missy threw a great game,” Balk said.  I knew it meant a lot to her to come back with a good performance with a lot of focus after sitting out a year.”

The most exciting game of the weekend was Towson’s 8-7 extra-inning victory over Eastern Michigan (2-2) Saturday morning.

Towson jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. Eastern Michigan fired back by scoring six unanswered runs.

“I think we got a little too complacent and we lost that cutthroat attitude for a few innings,” Balk said. “This allowed the other team [Eastern Michigan] to get on the board and eventually led to them getting the lead.”

Towson tied the game up at six in the fifth with the help of two run-scoring doubles by Hepner and McCormick. Hepner won the game for Towson in the ninth inning with a walkoff single to drive in Balk.

“Even though as a team we struggled a little bit in every aspect of the game, we never lost sight of competing and winning the game,” Balk said.

Towson will travel to Conway, S.C. next weekend to take part in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic. It will take on Coastal Carolina Friday, Feb. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in the first of five games.


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