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Bison begin 2012 season in Florida

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The Gallaudet University softball team dropped their first four games of the 2012 season this week. Gallaudet was swept in the season opening doubleheader vs. Brooklyn College on Monday. The Bison fell in game one 8-5 and lost a close second game, 3-2. On Tuesday, Gallaudet fell 13-4 against Minn.-Crookston and later fell 10-2 in the afternoon game against Delaware Valley College. All games were part of the Spring Break trip for the Bison and were played at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and the Chain of Lakes Park in Titusville, Fla., respectively. Gallaudet was slated to start its Spring Break schedule on Sunday but rain delayed the first game, forcing it to be moved to Monday.

In game one vs. Brooklyn, Gallaudet (0-4) got off to a fast start as it scored twice in the first inning. Junior catcher Nicole O'Malley (Fredericksburg, Va.) and freshman pitcher Montana Murphy (Simi Valley, Calif.) each scored after drawing back-to-back walks. Junior center fielder Alicia Johnson (San Jose, Calif.) was credited with an RBI after being hit by a pitch and senior left fielder Easter Faafiti (Pittsburg, Calif.) earned an RBI by drawing a walk. Brooklyn pushed four across in the first to grab the lead.

Gallaudet would score three more runs in the second inning behind a Faafiti triple and an O'Malley double. Johnson also earned an RBI walk. Brooklyn would then score two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth and seventh innings to put the game out of reach.

In the second game, Gallaudet took an early 2-0 lead as sophomore shortstop Kara Gulvas (Crown Point, Ind.) singled and scored. Faafiti later singled and brought in Johnson. That would be all the scoring for Gallaudet, as Brooklyn pitcher Kimberly Brennan didn't allow the Bison to threaten again. Brooklyn would score twice in the third and score the go-ahead run in the sixth.

O'Malley finished the doubleheader by going 4-for-7 at the plate and scored two runs. Faafiti had a team-high four RBI and went 2-for-6 on the day while sophomore Rachel Sweigart (Big Rock, Ill.) went 3-for-4 in game one.

On Tuesday, Gallaudet fell into a hole early on against Minn.-Crookston as the Golden Eagles took advantage of early opportunities and scored eight runs in the first two innings to take an 8-1 lead. Gallaudet would push a run across in the second inning and two runs in the third to try and mount a comeback. The rally was quickly extinguished when Minn.-Crookston tallied four runs in fourth inning. The Bison would score one more run in fifth but would succumb to the mercy rule after six innings.

Faafiti went 2-for-3 in game one and finished with a run scored. Freshman second baseman Mia Fernandez (Artesia, N.M.) also went a perfect 2-for-2 and knocked in one run. Sweigart (0-1) took the loss for the Bison in the circle as she pitched four innings and struck out two batters.

Crookston had five batters record multi-hit games led by Courtney Bridge and Rachel Schoenborn, who each went 3-for-4 from the plate. Stacy Marcum pitched five innings and struck out four Bison to earn the win.

Gallaudet had a much better start in game two against Delaware Valley. After two innings the score was knotted at two. However, Delaware Valley rattled off eight unanswered runs to down the Bison.

O'Malley started the scoring for the Bison in the first inning as she scored on a single from Sweigart. In the second inning, Gallaudet would score again with a single from Gulvas that brought in freshman right fielder Elena Ciccarelli (Whitesboro, N.Y.).

Delaware Valley (4-1) blew the game open with a four-run third inning on five hits and one Bison error. The damage could have been much worse as Delaware Valley left the bases loaded. The Aggies would put the game out of reach for good in the sixth inning as they tallied three more runs on just one hit.

Sweigart and Gulvas were the top performers for the Bison in the second game. Sweigart finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and Gulvas went 1-for-2 as she also knocked in one runner.

The Bison are in Florida for eight games this week. GU will next face Webber International in a doubleheader on March 14 followed by individual games against the Golden Eagles and Aggies on Thursday, March 15.