CLERMONT, Fla. – Despite the first career home run by Delaney Baker and several strong hitting performances, the Ursinus College softball team came up empty in games against Concordia Chicago and Coast Guard on Thursday.
The Bears conceded a 6-2 decision to Concordia in the morning opener, then rallied from a three-run deficit against Coast Guard before a late surge by the other Bears doomed the Collegeville club to an 8-5 defeat.
Baker smacked a two-run homer in a three-run third against Coast Guard, and senior Gabrielle Manto was 3-for-5 with three runs, a double, and an RBI on the day.
Game 1: Concordia Chicago 6, Ursinus 2
The Bears had no answers for Shania Phillips and Melissa Balkema, as the first two hitters in the Cougars' lineup combined to go 5-for-8 with two home runs, three RBI and scored five of the team's six runs. Both singled to open the game, and Sydney Getz quickly made it 2-0 with a two-run double.
Balkema's two-run homer in the second doubled the spread, and pitcher Marita van Dyke added to the lead with a two-out double in the fourth. Balkema's second dinger of the day capped the scoring for Concordia.
Ursinus managed just two hits off van Dyke, but she left after the fourth inning and the Bears took advantage in their last at-bat. Sophomore Delaney Baker's one-out, pinch-hit singled started a late rally, which continued with an RBI double down the left-field line by senior Gabrielle Manto. Sophomore Morgan Comfort's RBI single cut it to 6-2 and put runners on second and third, but the Cougars induced a pop-up on the infield to put the game on ice.
Balkema finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI for Concordia, while Phillips was 2-for-4 and scored three times.
Comfort had two of the five hits for the Bears. On the mound, she took her first loss of the season after allowing four runs and four hits in three innings. Sophomore Gabby Ilyes gave up two runs over the next three frames before junior Jennifer Hammons came on to set the side down in order in the seventh.
Game 2: Coast Guard 8, Ursinus 5
The Bears got going right away in the second game, grabbing an early lead on Baker's sacrifice fly in the first. The Bears of Coast Guard, however, struck right back with four in their half, sending all nine batters to the plate.
Ursinus equalized in the third with the help of Baker's bomb, a two-run shot with two outs to score Heather Lazer after the sophomore had driven in a run with a fielder's choice.
Hammons relieved Kayla McTamney after the first inning, and the right-hander held off Coast Guard until the fourth, when a two-out, two-run single put the Bears behind again at 6-4.
A base hit by Manto and walk to Comfort had Ursinus in business in the fifth, and Hasulak moved them both up a base with a sacrifice. Lazer's sacrifice fly cut the deficit to one, but Julia Ferris was able to retire Baker for the first time on a strikeout to end the threat.
Hammons stranded the bases loaded in the fifth but was not so fortunate in the sixth, when three walks and a double led to a pair of insurance runs. The Bears went down 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Baker drove in a career-high three runs (she came in with one for her career), while Manto finished 2-for-3 and scored twice. Hasulak was 2-for-2 with a run, with Lazer driving in two and scoring one of her own.
Hammons pitched five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four walks and one strikeout.
The Bears have a day off before finishing up their Florida trip with games against Farmingdale State and Clarkson.