March 2, 2012

Vikings Drop a Pair at Georgia Bulldog Invitational

CSU/Minnesota Box Score
CSU/Georgia Box Score

March 2, 2012

Contact: Tim Ertle

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ATHENS, Ga. - The Cleveland State softball team went up against two teams with a combined record of 22-5 on Friday (March 2) - the opening day of the fourth annual Georgia Bulldog Invitational - and came away with a pair of losses.

The Vikings fell to Minnesota 9-5 in the first game of the day and came back in the evening to get knocked off by No. 7 Georgia, 4-2.

Cleveland State is now 1-10 on the year.

In the opener, CSU jumped on the Golden Gophers with three runs in the home half of the first thanks to a three-run homer from Dara Toman, her third of the season and first of the day.

Andrea Nagy sparked the offense with a one-out walk and Caila Ferro followed with a single before the Toman blast.

CSU starting pitcher Sara Shields took that lead into the third inning when Minnesota got to her for six runs. Shields recorded one out in the third inning before seven straight Gophers reached and Kelsi Reed came in to replace her in the circle.

Reed finished the last 4.2 innings and allowed three runs - two in the fifth and one in the seventh - while striking out six. Shields was charged with six runs - all of them earned - to be handed her second loss of the season.

The Vikings did tack on runs in the third and fifth innings, but the big Gopher third inning did them in. Ferro scored on a two-out double by Afton Allred in the third and Toman's second blast of the game made it an 8-5 game after five innings.

A seventh inning solo homer from Tyler Walker - one of three from Minnesota in the game - decided the final margin.

Minnesota starting pitcher Alissa Koch worked four innings and allowed four runs to earn the win and improve to 3-1. Kelsey Kimminau worked the fifth and the sixth before giving way to Sara Moulton who slammed the door in the seventh for her first save.

Each of the first six Vikings in the lineup recorded at least one hit: Nena Doran, Nagy, Cynthia Woodard and Allred all had one hit while Ferro and Toman were both 2-4 with two runs scored.

Against the Bulldogs, starting pitcher Megan Bashak was again the victim of poor defense. She picked up the loss and fell to 1-6 despite another terrific performance. She scattered six hits and didn't walk a batter while striking out three.

The first batter of the game reached on an error, stole second and scored on a single to right field.

Another CSU miscue led to another Bulldog run in the home portion of the first inning. Georgia pushed four runs across in the opening frame - only two of which were charged to Bashak.

The senior pitcher settled down from that point on and blanked Georgia - a team that came into the game averaging more than seven runs per contest - over the next five innings to finish with a six inning complete game.

Her teammates added two runs in the sixth on a bases loaded double by Ferro that plated both Bashak and Doran.

Heading into the seventh inning down 4-2, the Vikings couldn't complete the comeback against UGA starting pitcher - and ace - Morgan Montemayor. Shields singled to left with one out and Bashak followed with a single to put the tying run aboard. The next batter struck out for the second out of the inning and Montemayor recorded her eighth strikeout for the final out of the game, improving her record to 6-1.

The Vikings posted seven hits in the game, compared to just six from the Bulldogs.

CSU has three more games in Georgia over the next two days. First up is Rutgers at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday (March 3) with a game against Mercer to follow 15 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. The weekend concludes with Ohio at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday (March 4).

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