Softball Outlasts UNC Wilmington, 7-6

WILMINGTON, N.C. – A five-run sixth inning outburst gave the Brown softball team enough space to outlast UNC Wilmington in a 7-6 victory at Boseman Field on Sunday. The Bears finish the Wilmington Beach Bash with a 2-3 record and the Seahawks drop to 8-8 overall.

Freshman Sarah Syrop (Kennesaw, Ga.) knocked an RBI single in the fourth inning to put Brown on the board and also drew two walks. On the mound, junior Jessica Cherness (Torrance, Calif.) battled through the first three innings and allowed three runs (one earned), while freshman Leah Nakashima (San Jose, Calif.) picked up her first collegiate win with 4.0 innings of relief.

For UNCW, four players registered two hits with Claudia Spinelli going 2-3 with a double and two RBI. The Seahawks outhit the Bears 10-5 in the contest but could not undo the damage done by four fielding that allowed Brown to push across three unearned runs. Casey Rowland threw 4.0 innings and surrendered two runs (one earned) on four hits, while Peyton Jordan was saddled with the loss after giving up five runs (two earned) in 3.0 innings.

The Bears started quickly when freshman Casey Fisher (Oro Valley, Calif.) and sophomore Janet Leung (Mississauga, Ontario) led off with back-to-back infield singles, but a lineout, fielder's choice and strike out silenced the threat. The Seahawks claimed the first lead with two runs on a sacrifice fly and RBI base hit in the second to go up 2-0, and an illegal pitch in the third made it 3-0.

Brown got runners moving in the fourth on a leadoff error and sacrifice bunt. Syrop laced a single up the middle to score Brown's first run and later scored on a double steal attempt to make it a 3-2 game. The Bears escaped a no-out bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the fourth when Nakashima started a 1-2-3 double play and a strikeout retired the side.

Despite just one hit in the inning, the top of the sixth proved to be the difference maker when the Bears scored five times and took advantage of three UNCW fielding errors. A leadoff single, infield error and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and first and Syrop drew a walk to load the bases with one away. Junior Kelsey Hom (Santa Monica, Calif.) delivered a pinch-hit fielder's choice that brought home the tying run and two more fielder's choices made it 5-3 without producing an out. Errors at shortstop and in center field plated another pair of runs and put Brown in front 7-3.

The Seahawks attempted to rally twice, first with an RBI single in the sixth to make it 7-4. The hosts then put runners on first and second with one down in the seventh, setting the stage for Spinelli to smack a two run double to left. The comeback bid would end quickly, however, as freshman Lauren Hanna (Milford, Mass.) fired the ball in from left to catch Spinelli in a rundown and secure the final out with a tag at third.

The Bears return to action next weekend with six games in three days at the Loyola Marymount Tournament in Los Angeles, Calif. Brown opens the trip against Lehigh on Mar. 7 at 9 a.m.