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Lady Braves host UNCP Invitational
By Nick Phillips
The UNCP softball team opened its 2011 campaign on Feb. 6 and 7, hosting the UNCP Invitational and splitting their two games in the tournament.
The tournament schedule was altered before it even began, as rain pushed back the start of play from Feb. 4 while also reducing the number of games the participating teams played.
Two days late, the Lady Braves finally began their new campaign with a win, coming away with a 6-4 victory over Tusculum College.
UNCP sophomore Holly Berry picked up right where she left off in 2010, as the reigning PBC Freshman of the Year was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate while driving in three of the Lady Braves' runs.
Senior Lynn Grantham tallied a 2-for-4 hitting performance in the game, including an RBI-double in the bottom of the fifth inning that tied the game at 4- 4.
In the circle, sophomore Starr Gilley earned her first win while wearing the Black and Gold after coming on in relief and tossing 2-1/3 scoreless innings and striking out two batters.
Freshman Natalie Klemann closed out the win for the Lady Braves, picking up her first collegiate save with a scoreless seventh inning.
UNCP was unable to roll its season-opening success over to its second game on Feb. 7, as Kutztown took an 8-2 win in the final game of the Invitational.
Berry tallied another 3- for-3 performance at the plate and senior Courtney Hill added a 2-for-4 effort in the loss.
The visitors jumped on the board early, tallying three runs in the first inning and adding three more runs to hold a 6-0 lead before UNCP finally plated a run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
In the fifth inning, UNCP freshman Schanique Barrett would reach base and score on Hill's RBIdouble before Berry delivered a double to drive in Hill and bring the game to 6-2.
Kutztown answered in the top of the sixth, scoring two final runs to give the game its final score.
Lady Braves starting pitcher Caroline Newman took the loss, as the senior picked up only one out while giving up three runs in her outing.