PRINCESS ANNE, MD – The University of Maryland Eastern Shore softball is off to its best start in over a decade as the Lady Hawks earned a doubleheader split against Saint Peter's College on Sunday afternoon to move to 3-1 on the season. The Lady Hawks walked off with a 10-9 victory in eight innings in game one, before they dropped the night cap by a score of 12-7.
It was the effort of freshmen Vanessa Gomez (Belleville, N.J.) and Trenece Nash (Decatur, Ga.) that were the difference, as the pair combined to register 11 hits, 10 RBI and four stolen bases in the two games. Gomez registered five knocks altogether, including the game-winning single in UMES' 10-9 extra-inning victory in game one. Nash was 6-for-11 across the doubleheader with three doubles and eight RBI.
After falling behind in the top of the first, Gomez led off with a walk and came around to score on a triple by senior Carmen Gurrola (Arleta, Calif.). Gurrola scored the following at-bat when sophomore Morgan King (Danville, Ill.) roped a single through the left side to give UMES a 2-1 advantage. The teams were each quiet in the second, before they erupted with big third innings.
Saint Peter's (1-3) used a two-run homer by Francesca D'Amato to highlight four runs in the frame as the Peacocks took a 5-2 lead. UMES brought the game even with three of its own after Gurrola scored on an RBI double by King, who eventually came in on a two-RBI double by Nash.
The deadlock held strong until UMES' portion of the sixth, when the women took a 7-5 lead after Nash singled home senior Jasmine James (Willingboro, N.J.) and King. SPC was not done just yet as the Peacocks put up a three-spot in the seventh to take a one run lead, 9-8. With their backs against the wall, UMES sent the game to extras after Gomez singled home junior Cherokee Williams (Upper Marlboro, Md.) to tie the score at eight.
With a runner placed on second base, the Peacocks managed just one run when D'Amato brought in Alexis Gallagher with a sacrifice fly to left. In the extra frame, UMES put James on second to begin the inning, who advanced to third when Nash reached on an error. Saint Peter's pitcher Shelby Beaver retired the next two hitters, before Williams smacked a liner through the left side to bring the score even.
It was all Gomez the rest of the way as the freshman drove a ball over the center fielder's head to bring in Nash and give UMES the win. The hit made a winner of Gurrolla, who picked up her third win in as many games after she allowed five earned runs in five and two-third innings with one strikeout.
In game two, the Lady Hawks found themselves in an early 3-0 hole. Gurrola doubled home Gomez and junior Chelsea Alston (Matawan, N.J.) to bring the score to 3-2, but the Peacocks tallied single run tallies in each of the next three innings. The Hawks would score one in the fourth and two in the second courtesy of two hits and three RBIs by Nash.
Saint Peter's extended its lead to 12-5 with six runs over the next three innings. UMES made the game interesting with two runs in the last inning, when James singled and scored Nash's third double of the day. Nash came home two batters later after freshman Emily Diseroad (Manchester, Md.) recorded an infield single. The tally was as close as UMES would get as the next hitter grounded out to end the game.
SPC was led by D'Amato, who was 3-for-9 on the day with five RBIs and one homer. Chelsea Crews had four hits in game two with two RBI and Beaver combined to total four hits and four runs. Beaver picked up the loss on the hill in the first game when she gave up two earned runs in four and two-third innings. Erica Colon was the winner in game two with a complete game, three strikeout effort.
UMES looks to continue its hot streak when the Lady Hawks travel to Greensboro, N.C., to compete in the North Carolina A&T Tournament beginning on Feb. 22. The Hawks will square off with St. Francis (N.Y.) in the opener.
For complete recaps, results and news of Hawk athletics, please visit www.umeshawks.com