Feb. 9, 2009
Contact: Brian McCann
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- A 12-run first inning explosion propelled Cleveland State to a 17-6 decision in 5 innings over Missouri-Kansas City and a split of the final two games in the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces Invitational on Sunday. CSU earlier dropped a tough 10-9 decision to Ohio University.
Combined with losses to Colorado State (12-11) and host New Mexico State (5-3) on Saturday, the Vikings finish the tourney with a 1-4 record, dropping three of those games by a total of four runs.
"It was good to jump out and finally get a win here, but it doesn't temper my overall disappointment with our performance this week," CSU head coach Angie Nicholson said. "We hit the ball very well, especially considering this was our first weekend of play, but we need to do a better job pitching and playing defense if we want to achieve our goals."
Junior Lia Gordon was named to the all-tournament team after hitting .429 (6-14) with two homeruns, seven RBI and seven runs scored in the five games.
"Lia hit the ball real well in the tournament," Nicholson said. "But then, just about everybody we put in the lineup hit the ball hard. It was a really good offensive performance for us this weekend."
After dropping a pair of tough decisions on Saturday, the Vikings came ready to play on Sunday, jumping on UMKC starter Ann Sokolik for 12 runs (10 earned) in one-third of an inning.
Gordon keyed the offensive explosion when she hit her first career grand slam to close out the scoring, giving the Vikings a 12-0 advantage. She finished the game going two-for-three with a walk, four runs scored and four RBI.
Katelyn Ciminelli, who drove in two runs in the first with a double, would drive in runs in both the third and fourth innings, going two-for-four with a run scored. Amanda Houchin went three-for-four, driving in a run in the first and a run in the third.
Amanda Macenko earned the win, pitching four innings and allowing three runs on five hits. She struck out five and walked just one. She gave way to freshman Megan Bashak in the fifth, who pitched the final inning, allowing three runs on six hits.
In the first game of the day, Ohio scored six runs in the third to open up a 7-4 lead and then hold off the Vikings in the seventh for a 10-9 decision.
CSU took a 3-1 lead in the second when Houchin hit a three-run homerun to left center to score Meredith Mahon and Katelyn Ciminelli. The Vikings added a solo run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Mahon to score Andrea Nagy, who had reached on an error.
The Bobcats came back in the bottom of the frame, using a three-run home by Emily Wethington to spark a six-run rally that put OU ahead, 7-4.
The Vikings would rally for two runs in the fifth on a RBI double by Mahon and a sacrifice fly by Ciminelli to pull to within 7-6, but the Bobcats would score two in the fifth and one in the sixth to take a 10-6 lead.
Cleveland State refused to quit as Gordon led off with a home run to center and Houchin followed three batters later with a two-run homer to center that pulled the Vikings to within 10-9. The rally would end there as Haley Keller struck out and pinch-hitter Shalyn Adams popped out to short to end the contest.
Houchin finished the day going three-for-four with two runs scored and five RBI while Mahon added three hits in four at-bats.
Brittany Bate was the losing pitcher in relief for CSU, allowing four runs on three hits in one-third of an inning. Macenko started - and finished - the game, throwing the first and seventh innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits. Kala Allred pitched the middle innings, allowing two unearned runs on five hits in 2.2 innings.
The Vikings continue their early season tournament play this week when they travel to Athens, Ga. to play four games in three days at the Red & Black Showcase at the University of Georgia. CSU will face Elon on Friday (Feb. 13), Longwood and host Georgia on Saturday (Feb. 14) and Winthrop on Sunday (Feb. 15).