BRIDEGEWATER, Va. – The York College women's softball team opened up their season with two wins in Virginia. The Spartans were able to win 6-3 in the first game and the second game 5-4.
In the season opener, the Spartans jumped out to an early lead 2-0 in the top of the first. Katie Maloney (Aston, Pa. / Sun Valley) secured the first hit of the season for the Spartans with a shot up the middle to start the uprising. York would load the bases and then Lauren Lum (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. / Trabuco Hills) was able to knock the ball past the second basemen to push in two runners, Jena Ruby (Hampstead, Md./North Carroll) and Ashley Chenoweth (Fredericksburg, Va. / Stafford).
Sara Thacker (Ijamsville, Md./Urbana) with her first start of the season, was able to quickly dispel the Eagle threat by relying on her defense with the first four batters. In the bottom of the second Bridgewater threatened with two runners on base after a walk and a hit batter. Brianna Cox of Bridgewater stepped up to the plate and jacked a three-run shot to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
York quickly tied the lead at three in the top of the third with a Natalie Fritz (Fayetteville, Pa. / Chambersburg) RBI to second as Chenoweth scored. After a few scoreless innings the Spartans woke up the bats again for York with another Maloney single up the middle. Ruby then tripled to right field to allow Maloney to score. Carleigh Ruleman (Owings, Md. / Northern) then was able to knock in Ruby with a double up to right center. Alyssa Molino (Montgomery, Pa. / Montgomery) was able to knock in Ruleman with grounder to second to get the RBI. The Spartans were able to thwart any more threats from the Eagles to close out the game with a 6-3 game.
Thacker picked up the complete game win as she allowed three earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts and five walks in her seven innings of work. The Spartans grabbed eight hits with four RBIs led by Ruleman's 2-for-3 day at the plate with a double and RBI.
In the nightcap, the Spartans faced a tough battle. In Jennifer Taff's (Germantown, Md. / Clarksburg) first game as a Spartan, she had to battle early and rebound from a tough first inning. In the bottom of the first the Eagles were able to slap on two runs with four hits. Taff quickly settled down and deposed of the first three batters she faced in the bottom of the second, and was able to spark the York offense.
In the top of the third, Maloney stepped up and smacked a triple for the Spartans. Ruby stroked a single to left field to plate Maloney. In the top of the fourth, the Spartan offense continued to pressure the Eagle defense. Molino opened up the inning with double out to right center, and was immediately advanced by a Vanessa Mendez (Lititz, Pa. / Warwick) sacrifice bunt. Kayleen Bell (Herndon, Va. / Westfield) came to the plate and was able to get her first RBI with a hit to the pitcher that was able to score Molino.
The Spartans and Eagles held each other even at two until the teams split a five run seventh inning. Ruleman opened up the scoring onslaught with a homer to left field. Fritz followed suit with a double to right, and was advanced to third after a Annie Hartman (Landisville, Pa. / Hempfield) single up the middle. Molino came up to bat with a line out to centerfield that was able to score Fritz and advance Hartman. Mendez finished the scoring with a single that scored Hartman as York took a 5-2 lead to the bottom of the seventh. Taff and the Spartan defense faced a tough push by the Eagles who resorted to small ball to advance their runners and pick up two runs in the inning. The York defense held to give the Spartans the 5-4 victory.
Taff was able to pick up her first win in her first collegiate contest for the Spartans as she faced Lauren Jenkins who picked up the loss for the Eagles. Taff pitched a full game with three strikeouts while facing 36 batters. Facing three pitcher for the Eagles, the Spartan offense still managed five RBIs and twelve hits. Ruleman continued her .667 batting average with a home run and another RBI. Maloney went 3-3 in the second game with a triple, and Fritz was able to go 2-3 with a double.
The Spartans return to action on March 2nd at Randolph College for a double header starting at 1:00 pm.