FORT MYERS, Mass. -- The Bridgewater State University softball team split a pair of games to open the 2017 season at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic in Fort Myers, Florida.
The Bears (1-1) posted a 4-2 victory over Mount Mary University before dropping a 7-6 decision to New Jersey City University.
In the opener, freshman shortstop Shannon Grindle (Halifax, Mass.) belted her first collegiate home run and senior pitcher Kathleen Bailey (Bayport, Ny.) went the distance in the circle to lead the Bears to the 4-2 win over the Blue Angels.
Grindle open the scoring in the bottom of the second inning with a homer to right field in her first career at bat. Junior right fielder Courtney Banzi (Plymouth, Mass.) added an RBI single in the third to make it a 2-0 game.
Mount Mary rallied to tie the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth.
Bridgewater answered in the home half of the fifth as senior second baseman Courtney Leddy (Saugus, Mass.) singled to lead off the inning. Senior third baseman Samantha LoPilato (Medford, Mass.) then reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt when the catcher's hurried throw sailed down the right field line. Leddy and LoPilato would both come all the way around to score on the errant throw to give the Bears a 4-2 lead.
Bailey would work around a leadoff walk in the sixth and a one-out hit batter in the seventh to secure the win.
Bailey (1-0) went the distance in the circle as she allowed two runs on four hits, three walks and three hit batsmen. She fanned six and stranded seven base runners.
In the setback to New Jersey City, the Bears trailed 7-3 heading into the top of the seventh inning.
Bridgewater rallied for three runs in the frame as the Bears took advantage of a pair of Gothic Knight errors.
Leddy singled to lead off the frame and moved to second when LoPilato reached on an error. After a groundout advanced the runners, Grindle singled off the first base bag to plate both Leddy and LoPilato. One out later, Welch singled sending Grindle to second.
That would set the stage for sophomore thirdbaseman Courtney Gouveia (Taunton, Mass.) who laced an RBI double to right field which plated Grindle and cut the deficit to 7-6. On the play, however, the Bears had a runner erased on the base paths to end the game as NJCU hung on for the win.
Sophomore pitcher Mackenzie Holt (Gilroy, Ca.) was tagged with the loss in her collegiate debut. Holt surrendered six runs on five hits and six walks over 3 1/3 innings of work. Bailey came on in relief and allowed a run on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Grindle went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI to lead the Bears' eight-hit attack. Welch, who went 2-for-3 with a walk, connected for her first career triple in the top of the second inning which at the time made it a 2-2 game.
NJCU took advantage of four walks in the bottom of the fourth inning to push across four runs and take a 6-2 lead. Alanis Concepcion and Juliana Squeo both walked with the bases loaded, while Brittany Paulikas capped off the inning with a two-run single.
Paulikas went 4-for-4 at the plate with a double, two RBI and a run scored.
Christina Mezey went all seven innings to earn the win in the circle for the Gothic Knights. Mezey gave up six runs (two earned) on eight hits with two walks and a pair of strikeouts.
The Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic continues for the Bears on Monday when they take on Albion College (9:00 AM) and Rockford University (1:00 PM).