By ASHLEY OWENS
Eastern’s softball team opened its 2015 season with a weekend of split competition Feb. 5-8. The Colonels took on ranked schools, such as No. 3 University of Alabama and No. 23 University of South Alabama, and came out of the weekend with three wins and three losses.
The Colonels opened the Sand Dollar Classic on a strong start with a 1-0 victory against Jacksonville State University. Freshman Paige Murphy made her way to first base with a single before pushing forward to second after a Jacksonville State (4-1) throwing error.
Junior Kayla Joyce stepped up to the plate and hit an RBI triple to knock Murphy home for the point.
In game two, No. 3 Alabama kept its undefeated record. The Colonels fell to Alabama 9-0 after eight strikeouts and zero hits in the game. Alabama remains in the winning column with a 6-0 record.
The Colonels came back against Houston Baptist University, despite the Alabama setback, and won 4-2. The Houston Baptist Huskies (0-5) led by one heading into the bottom of the first, but Eastern scored three runs to take the lead. Senior Katie Tackett had an RBI, which fueled junior Sarah Fobbs to a two-out, RBI single for the final lead. Tackett ripped another RBI in the fourth to push the gap even wider.
The sixth was a close one as the Huskies loaded bases, but junior Hayley Flynn only allowed one of those runners to cross home plate. Flynn pitched a career high against the Huskies with 10 strikeouts.
Florida International University handed Eastern its second loss after a game-changing sixth inning. Senior Darcy Schueler hit an RBI double in the fourth for the one-point lead. The Florida International Panthers (4-2) retaliated, however, with a homerun to tie the game. Next, the Panthers pushed two runs across the plate after a two-out, two-run single.
Despite South Alabama’s rank, the Colonels were able to squeeze out a win with one run. The South Alabama Jaguars (3-2) had bases loaded in the second inning, but a line-out ended the inning and the score remained 0-0.
Sophomore Krislyn Campos stepped up with a single in the fifth inning, where she quickly followed up with a stolen base to second. Campos scored the lone run of the game after a wild pitch from the Jaguars.
Senior Leanna Pittsenbarger pitched her 22nd career shutout against the Jaguars and only allowed one base runner in the last three innings of play.
The Colonels ended the classic with a 7-4 loss against the Lamar University Cardinals. Eastern grabbed an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning after Lamar (3-2) errors, but the Cardinals evened the score in its half of the inning.
The second inning was Lamar’s standout inning and Eastern’s downfall. The Cardinals’ Casey Cromwell knocked out a three-run home run to put the Colonels too far down on the scoreboard.
Eastern tallied three errors in the first inning, totaling at five errors overall.
After a week of rest, the Colonels return Feb. 21 and 22 to host the 2015 EKU Invitational. Eastern (3-3, 0-0 OVC) looks to take on teams such as the University of Louisville, Western Michigan University and Kent State University.