WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University softball had a stiff task Wednesday in its conference opener against Wilson College, the defending North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) South Division champions. The Phoenix went 18-2 last year in conference play and once again drubbed the Bison in today's doubleheader 17-2 in seven innings and 22-3 in five innings.
Gallaudet (2-16, 0-2 NEAC South Division) played well for the first three innings of game one. The Bison held a brief 2-1 lead heading into the fourth inning before the Phoenix (7-2, 2-0 NEAC South) reeled off 16 unanswered runs. Wilson didn't let up as it pushed across eight runs in the seventh inning. The Bison didn't threaten in the seventh as the first game, which lasted two hours and 30 minutes, drew to a close.
Sophomore shortstop Kara Gulvas (Crown Point, Ind.) had the lone extra-base hit for GU when she doubled in the third inning and scored on a wild pitch. Junior Alicia Johnson (San Jose, Calif.) suffered the loss as she pitched the complete game and allowed 17 runs (nine earned) on eight hits, 15 walks, eight wild pitches and five strikeouts.
Wilson pitcher Leigh Roche was impressive as she went the distance and struck out 13 Bison and walked five and threw four wild pitches in the win. The Phoenix only had eight hits in the first game as Gallaudet committed four errors in the field.
In the second game, the first five batters for Wilson reached base and scored as the Phoenix led 5-0 early. Gallaudet was able to score two runs in the bottom half of the first and tacked on an additional run in the third when it trailed 13-3. Wilson scored nine runs over the final two innings, including six unearned runs in the fifth and final inning, as daylight disappeared due to the sun setting. As darkness approached the Phoenix continued to steal bases and place runners in scoring position as they nursed a double-digit run lead.
Sophomore Rachel Sweigart (Big Rock, Ill.) started in the circle and took the loss for the Bison as she logged 1.2 innings and allowed nine runs on 11 hits and walked two. Johnson came in during the second inning and pitched into the fifth, as she allowed 13 runs (six earned) on eight hits, walked seven and struck out one. The GU defense had three errors in the second game.
GU will look to shake-off today's losses and turn its attention to Penn St.-Abington when the Bison host the Nittany Lions on Saturday, March 31, as the NEAC doubleheader begins at 1 p.m.