Softball Falls Twice on First Day of Tar Heel Invitational
March 3, 2006
Memphis 000 000 0 - 0 4 1 Canisius 002 000 x - 2 2 1
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The first day of the Tar Heel Invitational proved to be a tough one for the Memphis softball team, as the squad took a tough 2-0 loss to Canisius in game one before dropping a 10-2 decision to host North Carolina in game two.
Memphis struggled offensively and suffered a heart-breaking defeat against Canisius, with Nicki Johnson giving up no earned runs, but taking the hard-luck loss. The bats then livened up in game two, but the pitching faltered, as the Tiger hurlers gave up ten earned runs.
In game one, Memphis had runners on base in every inning and out-hit Canisius four to two, but, as has been the trend in recent losses, struggled with runners on base, leaving 11 runners stranded.
The Tigers had a number of chances to get on the board against the Golden Griffins, as they put the lead-off runner on in each of the first four innings, but saw their efforts thwarted each time.
Canisius plated its two runs in the bottom of the third when Angela Turrey reached on an error and Katie Miranto squeaked a two-out homerun over the leftfield fence to give the Golden Griffins two runs on just one hit.
Memphis responded in the fourth with its best opportunity to score, as Jenna Kubesch doubled and Lindsey Pridgen reached on an error and stole second to put runners on second and third with no outs. However, Canisius pitcher Courtney Piar got a popup and a pair of strikeouts to keep the U of M off the board.
The Tigers threatened again in the top of the seventh when Kara Ross doubled and Bridgette McNulty singled and advanced to second to put runners on second and third with two outs. Kimi Hayden then smashed a line drive to rightfield, but it was snared by Brittany Bonetto, ending the threat and the game.
Despite picking up her second loss of the season to drop to 3-2, Johnson had a solid performance in the circle, giving up just two hits and the two unearned runs, while striking out nine.
The second game of the day against North Carolina was a different story, with Memphis finding some offense but failing to keep the Tar Heels off the board.
Kubesch, who started in the circle, had trouble from the onset and was unable to make it out of the first inning after giving up four runs on three hits in one-third of an inning.
Johnson came in to get the final two outs of the first and kept UNC silent in the second to keep the Tigers close early.
Melissa Nance then gave Memphis a boost in the bottom of the second, as her solo homerun to right cut the deficit to 4-1.
Johnson could not keep the Tar Heel bats quiet however, giving up four more runs on four hits and two walks while recording just one out in the top of the third. Kubesch then re-entered for Johnson to get the final two outs of the third and shut North Carolina down in the fourth.
Memphis added another run in the fourth when Kimmi Hayden led off with a solo shot to left to cut the deficit to six.
The Tigers continued the threat when Lindsey Pridgen and Tori Gross got back-to-back, one-out singles, which, when accompanied by a two-out walk to Cara Stiles, loaded the bases. But, a Leila Dolfo pop-out ended the frame to keep the score at 8-2.
North Carolina later added two runs in the top of the sixth and Tar Heel starter Lisa Norris shut the Tigers out in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.
Kubesch took the loss in game two, giving up six runs, all earned, on seven hits, while striking out three and walking two.
With the two losses, Memphis falls to 7-5 on the season and 0-2 for the Tar Heel Invitational. The Tigers will return to action Saturday at 12:30 p.m. when they face Princeton prior to squaring off with North Dakota State at 3 p.m.