Cards Go 4-4 in Arizona
Written by: Derek Richmond
TUCSON, Ariz.- The Catholic University softball team started its season with an average performance, bringing home four wins in eight games contested in Tuscon, Ariz. The Cards were outscored 24-4 in a season-opening double-header. The first game saw St. Benedict walk away with a 14-2 victory. The Blazers took a four-run lead in the first while the Cardinals managed only one run. Junior shortstop Heather Holley (Owings, Md./Northern) scored CUA's only two runs - both on homers - in the first and third innings. It was not enough, however. Six runs in the second inning put the game away for St. Benedict, and the final frames were a mere formality.
The Cardinals lost the late game 10-2 to Ohio Northern, but Holley's hitting success continued. After striking out in the first inning, she hit her third dinger of the day in the third, scoring CUA's only two runs. The Cards gave up six runs in the bottom of the inning, giving Ohio Northern a 7-2 lead, and three runs in the last two innings brought up the final score.
Two days later, the trends reversed themselves. CUA picked up a 7-4 victory over Rose Hulman, and a 13-11 final against Cabrini in the second game. Holley, however, went hitless in a combined seven at bats. Rose Hulman took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth. The Cardinals answered with a run in the fifth when freshman Rachel Baker (Riverdale, Md./Saint Vincent Pallotti) ground out to shortstop but drove in junior Kara Walker (New Milford, N.J./Holy Angels). A two-run seventh inning tied the game up, but the Cardinals went into the bottom of the eighth trailing 5-4. CUA put together a four-run final inning to take the victory. Rachel Marrion (Los Altos, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) drove in a run on a sac fly. Two unearned runs and an RBI single from Walker capped off the effort.
The late game heroics trend continued in game two as an eight-run eighth saved a 13-11 victory. Walker batted in five runs for the Cards, while freshman Lynn Brown (Laurel, Md./Saint Vincent Pallotti) sent in four.
The Cards played three games on Thursday, ending the day 1-2. It began with a 6-5 loss to the University of Mary. CUA scored all five runs in the middle innings, with Stephanie Clemente driving the first run on a single in the third. In the fourth, Holley drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. A passed ball brought Baker in from third, and a two-run single by Kat Ager (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) concluded the CUA scoring. A five-run second inning and another run in the third from University of Mary proved too deep a hole, however.
The middle game brought another loss for the Cards, 12-0 at the hands of Ohio Northern again. Northern tallied 10 runs in the third and one each in the fourth and fifth innings. Clemente, the freshman pitcher, gave up all 12 Northern runs on 10 hits in three innings of work.
CUA took the final game of the day, pulling off a 7-1 defeat of Concordia. Ager led the way with five RBIs on a 3-for-4 showing. Concordia put up a run in the second before Baker scored on a wild pitch in the third inning. Ager doubled to drive in two runs and Walker followed with a one-run single. The Cards tallied three runs in the fifth and sixth while holding Concordia scoreless.
The Cardinals finished their Tuscon stay with another win over Cabrini, 7-5. Holley came around three times to score, while collecting only one hit and three walks. Kelly Lukacs was perfect on the outing, driving in two runs on 4-for-4 in plate appearances. With a 7-2 lead, CUA gave up three runs in the seventh, but managed to hold on for the victory.