ATHENS, GA—Winthrop softball wrapped up its opening weekend with a 4-1 loss to North Texas, Sunday morning at the Red and Black Showcase hosted by the University of Georgia.
The Eagles finish the weekend 2-3 against a competitive schedule for their opening weekend of the 2014 season. North Texas improves to 2-3 after the win.
“We competed with every game,” said Winthrop head coach Mark Cooke. “We had an opportunity to win every game. That’s what we were hoping for and what we wanted. These are great teams down here. To come back 2-3 is a positive. We just have to figure out now how to win these close games. We feel that our pitching is deeper and better this year. Overall it was a good weekend and we’ve got a good feel of what we’ve got going forward.”
The Eagles gave up two runs in the bottom of the first and that was all North Texas needed as it received an outstanding pitching performance from senior Ashley Kirk. The right hander held the Eagles to just one hit and one run in the game as she recorded a school record 15 strikeouts, breaking her own record of 14 in 2013.
Winthrop spoiled Kirk’s shutout in the second inning after falling behind 2-0 in the first. With two outs, Maddie Antone doubled to left center and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Megan Winningham put the ball in play trying to drive Antone home and the Eagles were able to score thanks to a throwing error by Kirk.
The Mean Green went ahead in the first courtesy of five walks and an illegal pitch. The illegal pitch called on starter Bradlee Holeman scored the first run and then the fifth walk of the inning came with the bases loaded by Sarah Allen, who relieved Holeman down 1-0.
North Texas added another run in the third and its final run in the sixth inning. Holeman took the loss as she allowed two runs (one earned) on no hits with four walks and a strikeout in 0.1 innings. Allen ended up pitching 3.1 innings allowing one run on two hits with four walks and a strikeout while Dallas King finished off the final 2.1 innings allowing a run on four hits.
McKenzi Corn didn’t record a hit on the day but extended her streak of reaching base to five games.
Winthrop will be off until next weekend when it heads to Auburn, AL for the Tiger Invitational as they open up against Nebraska-Omaha on Friday at 10 and then face Western Illinois at noon. The Eagles will also face Marshall, Loyola-Chicago and Auburn over the course of the weekend.