Three more games in the books, and UB Softball picked up their first win of the season, but still has plenty of work to do.
After an 0-2 day Friday, the Bulls opened Saturday with a 7-1 win against Tennessee State but lost 3-1 to Nicholls State to follow up and dropped this morning's game to Southern Illinois 8-0 in a shortened five innings.
One of the most impressive performances from the first three games was in the field, where the Bulls did not commit an error after averaging 2.4 a game in 2015. There was one error against Nicholls State, but it led to no runs. Against Southern Illinois, unfortunately, there were five as the Salukis ran away from a close game with a seven-run fifth inning.
Beyond defense, that inning is a familiar sight from last year, when UB was frequently unable to stanch the bleeding once their opponents got some momentum. On this day, UB got two ground balls and a fly out in the first three batters of the fifth inning, but the initial runner made it on thanks to an error from first baseman Sarah Edwards. After Ally Power quickly got to two outs, Southern Illinois piled it on:
Wild Pitch (run), Double (pitching change)
Home Run (three runs)
Walk, stolen base, error (catcher)
Passed ball, error (catcher) (run)
Only after that seven batter sequence did UB get back the out given away at the top of the inning.
The good news is Trena Peel has found a pair of promising pitchers in freshmen Lace Smith and Ally Power. Each got starts and took losses on Friday, but Smith threw a gem in the win over Tennessee State, striking out seven and giving up only three hits in six innings, while Power went the distance against Nicholls State, only giving up the winning runs in the seventh inning after working much of the day with runners on. This morning's game saw Power start and pitch well before the unraveling error.
Offensively, much of the attention goes to the win, where Savanna Norcio and Kenzie Koch combined to go 5-7 at the plate, with Norcio hitting two doubles and Koch her first career homerun. Danielle Lallos had three hits and three RBI on Saturday, as well. Today, UB only tallied three hits and a single walk.
The Bulls (of course) stay on the road next weekend for four games in Hampton, Virginia, where Coach Peel had previously led the Pirates to the NCAA Tournament. In addition to the hosts, they'll face Quinnipiac Friday and Rhode Island and Princeton on Saturday.