LEESBURG, Fla. – The Ursinus softball team opened its 2022 season with a split in their first two games down in Florida for the 2022 Spring Games on Saturday. The Bears won a wild 10-9 extra-inning affair over Mitchell in their first game before dropping an 8-5 decision to Plymouth State in the second game.
Game 1: Ursinus 10, Mitchell 9 (8 Innings)
Ursinus scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull off a stunning 10-9 win over Mitchell in the opening game. After each team stranded a runner in the first inning, the Mariners struck first in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly to take the early 1-0 lead. Mitchell had its leadoff runner hit with the pitch and advanced her to third on a groundout and single to shallow right field. The Mariners had their leadoff batter reach again to start the third inning and were able to advance her to third base following a passed ball and ground out. Mitchell extended their lead to 2-0 on a single to center field before the Bears worked out of the jam by forcing a double play from a lineout. Ursinus struck back by scoring three runs on three hits and one error in the bottom half of the inning to take their first lead of the game at 3-2. Senior Julia Eckels led the inning off with a double down the left field line and classmate Mackenzie Brennan followed with a walk. After both advanced on a wild pitch, junior Allyson Meakim roped a single to right field to score Eckels and advance Brennan to third. A throwing error in the ensuing at-bat brought home both runners to put the Bears in front.
Ursinus extended its lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the 4th after Brennan drove in Eckels after she led the inning off with a single and stole second. The Bears had chance to grab some more runs with a second and third situation, but back-to-back outs in the infield prevented any further damage. The Mariners had their first four runners reach in the top of the fifth and took the lead back at 5-4 with three runs off four hits. Eckels once again got things started for the Bears in the bottom of the sixth as she singled and stole second to put herself in scoring position. Meakim then drove Eckels in to tie the game at five two batters later with a single up the middle. Mitchell once again took the lead back from the Bears at 6-5 in the top of the seventh on a single to center field and a close play at the plate. However, Ursinus senior catcher Ally St. Jean was able to throw out a Mariner runner at third looking to advance on the play at the plate. The Bears loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and tied the game at seven after Meakim hit a single deep in the hole at shortstop that did not allow the Mariners fielder to have a play at any base. Mitchell seemed to finally take control of the game in the top of the eighth as they scored three runs on four hits with two coming on a two-out single and went up 9-6. The Bears had runners on second and third in the bottom of the eighth with two outs when junior Amanda Panati ripped a long single to right field to cut the Mitchell lead down to 9-8. Junior Jordan Moore followed with a single up the middle to put runners on first and second before Eckels came through with a game-winning two-run double over the Mariners left fielder's head to give the Bears a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Game 2: Plymouth State 8, Ursinus 5
The Bears fell in a 7-0 hole during the first two innings after Plymouth State ripped seven hits and took advantage of one Ursinus error. However, the Bears began to rally in the top of the third and scored their first run of the game off a single to left field from Meakim after Eckels led the inning off with a double. Ursinus then cut the lead to 7-5 in the top of the fourth after scoring four runs off four hits. After the first two batters reached, first-year pitcher Stephanie Wichman ripped a single up the middle to score the first run in her first at-bat following relieving Bears starter Lauren Lofland. Eckels walked to load the bases for Brennan, who roped an opposite-field three-run triple to left field to get the Bears back in the game. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases again, but Ursinus would get no further as a double play ended the inning. The Panthers responded by adding a run to make it an 8-5 game after having its first four runners reach base. Ursinus stranded five runners in the final two innings of the contest which included a bases loaded no outs situation in the top of the seventh. The Panthers escaped the final inning with a 521 double play and a game-ending strike out.
Between the two games, Eckels went a combined 5-of-7 from the plate with four RBI's and five runs scored. She went 4-of-5 with four RBIs in the first game that was capped by the game-winning double. Meakim went 4-of-8 from the plate with four RBIs after going 3-of-5 with three against Mitchell in game one. Brennan went a combined 3-of-6 with four RBIs and reached base six times between the two games behind drawing three walks in game one. Panati went 3-of-4 between the two games after entering as a pinch hitter against Mitchell. Wichman earned the win in her collegiate debut against Mitchell after helping the Bears escape a jam in the top of the eighth. She followed with four innings of solid relief work against Plymouth State by allowing one earned run on four hits with two walks.
The Bears return to action tomorrow, March 6th as they will start their day with Wentworth at 3:00 p.m. before taking on Sage at 5:15 p.m.