RIVERSIDE, CALIF. (February 27, 2014)—The Sacred Heart softball team dropped their first two games of the 2014 season to the UC Riverside Highlanders 6-5 and 5-0 in the opening day of the UC Riverside Tournament Thursday.
Sacred Heart scored all five of their runs in game one off of the long ball. Nicole Deissler (Commack, N.Y.) got the Pioneers on the board in the bottom of the third with a solo homerun. The Highlanders threatened in the bottom of the inning getting the first two batters on, but freshman pitcher Jamie Carlson (Corona, Calif.) shut down the next three.
After the first two Pioneers recorded outs in the top of the fourth, Kate Nadler (Southbury, Conn.) and Justine Sibthorp (Santa Clarita, Calif.), who went 2-for-3 in the game, knocked back-to-back singles. With two runners on, designated player Kacie Wentworth (Canton, N.Y.) sent a shot over the outfield fence improving Sacred Heart's lead to 4-0.
Riverside rallied with two outs to get on the board in the bottom of the inning. The Highlanders combined a double, single, and two walks for three runs before tacking on one more in the bottom of the fifth on Sommer Wilson's solo homerun.
In the top of the sixth, Sibthorp smacked a solo shot to give SHU back the lead, but the Highlanders weren't giving up. Down one run in the bottom of the seventh, lead-off batter Shylene Helms got on with a single before advancing on a wild pitch. The next batter, Natalie Sanchez drove Helms home with another single. Carlson struck out firstbaseman Marissa Escalante before the next two batters reached on a fielders choice and a single. With the bases loaded, Carlson plunked Kris DeAnda sending in the winning run.
Riverside held the Pioneers scoreless in the second game as Sacred Heart pitchers struggled against a tough Highlanders lineup. Sophomore Adriana Mallory (Pine Bush, N.Y.) got her first start of the season, and gave up three runs on four hits over three innings. Kacie Wentworth (Canton, N.Y.)came in in relief shutting down batters for an inning. Getting the call in the fifth, senior Taylor Lane (Lisbon, Conn.) gave up two runs in the bottom of the fifth before shutting down three straight batters in the sixth.
The Pioneers will continue play in the UC Riverside Tournament tomorrow morning at 11:30 a.m. against California.