Softball: ‘Nova goes 1-4 in Under Armour Invitational

Kate McAvey

It wasn’t the sunniest of visits to the Sunshine State for softball this spring break, as the Wildcats won one out of the five games they played at the Under Armour Invitational hosted by South Florida. Unfavorable weather conditions forced the ‘Cats to play five games in a short two-day span. They picked up their one win (6-4) against Chattanooga while falling to Long Island, Purdue, Missouri and Central Michigan.

The team started its first game against Long Island on Friday night, but heavy rains postponed the contest until Saturday morning when the ‘Cats ended with a loss of 3-2.

The team’s one win came during the second game of the day, with clutch hitting in the bottom of the sixth. With the score tied at three after Chattanooga scored two runs during the top of the sixth, sophomore Eryn Teague started the Wildcats off with a single to right center, followed by a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Jess O’Boyle that moved Teague to second. She was finally able to cross the plate because of a key single off the bat of freshman Kirsten Jelinski. The second run of the inning came from freshman Becky LaMarca, who pinch-hit, slamming a single up the middle, which allowed Jelinski and freshman Allie Heon, who singled earlier in the inning, to score. This gave ‘Nova a 6-3 lead and after an insignificant run in the seventh for Chattanooga, the ‘Cats were able to garner the win as junior Laura Determan earned the complete-game victory, striking out six in the process.

After battling for the win, the Wildcats couldn’t recover from an early deficit their third game of the day against Purdue. The contest ended in a 11-3 defeat. The team allowed seven runs on five hits and four walks in the top of the first to dig a hole it just couldn’t find a way out of.

Without much rest, the ‘Cats were back on the diamond on Sunday with an 11 a.m. game against Missouri and a 1:30 p.m. matchup against Central Michigan. The first of the two games started out in a close battle, as the ‘Cats opened up with a lead after scoring two in the fourth inning, but the Tigers responded with three in the bottom of the inning. ‘Nova was able to recover the lead in the top of the third but couldn’t keep the momentum going, as Missouri scored three in the third three more in the fourth and two in the fifth. The game ended with ‘Nova on the short side of a 10-4 final score.

Villanova recorded their second loss later in the day. Later that afternoon, the team also fell to Central Michigan 5-1. The team was never able to claim a lead after Central Michigan scored in the first, and the Wildcats only managed three hits throughout the game. Shortstop Allie Heon, left fielder Carolyn Brown, and center fielder Jackie Dempsey collected ‘Nova’s only hits.

Although harsh weather conditions and tough defeats surrounded the Wildcats this past weekend, the team has a doubleheader against Niagara on March 18 for the start of its home schedule. — K.M.