February 10, 2012

Softball Wins 7-6 Thriller Over St. John's

ATHENS, Ga.  – Campbell's softball team (1-0), thanks to a never say die spirit and some timely hitting from the newest members of the squad, had an opening day to celebrate in coming from behind to upend St. John's (0-2) 7-6 on the first day of the Red & Black Showcase in Athens, Ga. at Jack Turner Softball Stadium.

The game did not start off as planned with St. John's scored six runs in the first two innings. The Camels were undeterred though, as senior Christina Melton (1-0) settled down and held the Red Storm offense scoreless for the last five innings. Melton stats for the game did not truly show the competitiveness in which she pitched for Campbell in the victory. Melton threw a complete game and allowed six runs with six walks and six strikeouts on seven hits.

Freshman Ericka Nesbitt provided the late game magic with her run-scoring single to drive in sophomore Jessi Lane from second with two outs in the seventh inning. The hit was Nesbitt's second of the game and the first RBI of her collegiate career.

The Red Storm started the scoring with four in the first off the grand slam from Jackie Reed. The bases became loaded for St. John's on a single by Ellen Czuba and walks to Meghan Gwynn and Erin Burner.

CU came back with a run in their half of the first to cut the deficit to three. Junior Sarah Forgacs started the game with a double. Nesbitt followed with a walk and both runners moved up a base on Stephanie Jones' first collegiate hit. Jones would make her collegiate debut memorable with three more hits on the evening to go along with three RBIs and two stolen bases. Sophomore Raven Lee then drew a two-out walk to drive in the Camels first run.

St. John's added two more runs to the lead in the second. Czuba started the inning with bloop double. Kristi Cady followed with a triple and was driven in herself on a sacrifice fly from Kacee Cox.  

The Camels answered with two of their own runs in the bottom of the second. Senior Taylor McGee walked, Nesbitt move her to second with a single and both McGee and Nesbitt came in to score on Jones' two-out two-run double.

The fourth inning was another two-spot from the CU offense. Sophomore Jessi Lane started the rally with a single. Forgacs followed with a single of her own to put runners on first and second. A sacrifice bunt from Nesbitt moved each runner up a base. Jones drove in Lane with her single off the shortstop. A double steal from Jones swiping second and Forgacs stealing home produced the second run of the inning and fifth of the game for CU.

The Campbell defense contributed a potential game saver in the top of the fifth as Lane made an over the shoulder running and then diving catch with her back to home plate with a runner on second and St. John's clinging to a one-run lead at that point.

The CU offense capitalized on the change in momentum and tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Shaela Churchill reached on a fielder's choice. Freshman Kerstine Womack was inserted to run for her and scored on Forgacs' RBI single.

The Camels needed to withstand one more rally from the St. John's attack before Nesbitt's late game magic.  Erin Burner reached on a one-out double. Reed then walked. After a strikeout, MacKenna Neuroth single just over the third baseman's head. Nesbitt made the smart play in backing up the play to prevent the run from scoring and keep the bases loaded. Melton retired the next batter, Michelle Tilson, on a ground out to keep the game tied heading to the bottom of the frame.

The Camels continue play in the Red and Black Showcase and takes on North Carolina State at 3 p.m. on Feb. 11 at Jack Turner Softball Stadium.