The Softball Bears ventured down to Florida over the weekend to open their season — playing five games against tough competition in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s Leadoff Classic.
The Bears had solid pitching but were unable to score any runs in the first two games on Friday, Feb. 7.
The first game the Bears played was against Mississippi State. Mississippi State plated five runs by the time the third inning came to a close. The Bears only managed three hits in the game and lost 5-0.
Game 2 was against the No. 7 Minnesota Gophers. The game was a pitchers duel — the two squads combined for seven total hits. Junior pitcher Steffany Dickerson allowed one run in five innings of work, and it proved to be the winning run as Minnesota won 1-0.
Head coach Holly Hesse said she knows the Bears will score more runs in the future.
“I was very proud of our pitchers today,” Hesse said in a press release. “The runs will come. This is a very good tournament with excellent competition.”
The Bears played two more games on Saturday. The first was against North Carolina State. The Bears tried to rally in the seventh inning down four runs — freshman third baseman Tess Weakly hit her first collegiate hit, a two-run homer with one out to make it 7-5. North Carolina State retired the next two Bears to make the final score 7-5.
Game 2 on Saturday was against Notre Dame. The Irish scored sixteen runs two innings — 10 of them unearned. The Bears lost 16-0.
Hesse said she liked how the Bears tried to comeback against NC State, but the Bears gave Notre Dame an easy win.
“I really like the way we stayed dialed in against North Carolina State and kept fighting until the last inning,” Hesse said. “The second game got away from us, but we gave up a month’s worth of unearned runs. Give credit to a really good Notre Dame team, but we didn’t play our best softball.”
The Bears rebounded against Baylor on Sunday for their first win of the season.
Dickerson pitched a complete-game shutout and added a RBI to help the Bears win 3-0.
Junior shortstop Daphne Plummer led the Bears in hitting with four hits in 15 at-bats. Dickerson had an ERA under one in 14 innings of work.
The Bears will travel to Texas next weekend for the North Texas Invitational and play four games.