New head coach James DeFeo and the Bears softball team officially hit the diamond for their first action of the 2012 season. Being tested on the road, the Mercer team visited KSU for the Kennesaw State Classic Tournament Tallahassee with the Florida State Tournament.
Austin Peay 11, Mercer 9 As Head Coach James DeFeo and his Bears squad took the diamond for the first time this season to start their strenuous stretch of road games, their opener against Austin Peay was a tough game to swallow.
Leading by as many as seven, the Bears surrendered six runs with two outs in the final inning to give the Governors new life. The game would go into extras as the Austin Peay offense would stay hot with four runs in the eighth. Standout performers:
T. Phillips (MU) 4-8, Solo HR, 2 RBIs…
L. DeCastro (APSU) Grand Slam, 4 RBIs
Mercer 1, Kennesaw St. 6
The Bears offense was silenced in game two by the dominating 10-strikeout performance by KSU’s Amanda Henderson. With Mercer up 1-0 against the host Owls, KSU used just six hits to plate home six runs in three innings to capture the game.
A. Henderson (KSU) 4.1 IP, 2 H, 10 K’s…
J. Saunders (KSU) 1-1, 2-run pinch-hit HR
Mercer 4, Miami (OH) 11
Kicking off the game with three runs in the first, the Bears were nearly shut out of the remainder of the game with only one run in six innings. Down 4-2 in the fourth, the RedHawks plated nine runs in the final three innings for the come-from-behind victory.
T. Phillips (MU) 2-4, 3-run HR, 3 RBIs…
R. Edwards (MIA-OH) 2-3, 3 RBIs
Mercer 4, Southern Ill. 10
Once again, the Bears jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before the Cougars answered with five of their own. Mercer was able to knock out Southern Illinois pitcher Alyssa Wunderlich in the first without surrendering an out. However, the Cougar bullpen would settle into a groove as DeFeo’s bunch was only able to garner one walk and two runs after the first frame.
Standout performers: H. Gorman (SIU) 4-4, 2 runs…
M. Wilson (SIU) 2-2, 4 RBIs, 2 doubles
Mercer 3, Coastal Caro. 9
Errors proved costly for the Bears as pitcher Kassie Bailey allowed eight runs with only three of them earned. The Coastal Carolina squad plated five runs in the second inning and never looked back.
CCU centerfielder Brooke Donovan had a remarkable game going 3-for-3 with a grand slam, five RBIs and three runs scored.
B. Donovan (CCU) 3-3, Grand Slam, 3B, 5 RBIs, 3 runs…
T. Phillips (MU) 2-4, 2 RBIs
Mercer 2, NDSU 7
The Bears losing streak to start the season reached six with a five-run loss to North Dakota State. DeFeo’s squad could only muster two runs on two hits in the contest.
NDSU freshman Krista Menke threw a complete game allowing just the two runs.
K. Menke (NDSU) 7 IP, 2 H, 2 R…
B. Konz (NDSU), 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs
Mercer 12, Western Caro. 4
The Bears finally picked their first win of the season in outstanding fashion. The Mercer bunch was off to another fast start with four runs in the first inning. The Catamounts of Western Carolina would bring it within one with three runs of their own. Mercer wouldn’t allow the ga
me to slip away. In fact, the Bears had their largest inning of the season in the sixth where they brought home seven runs.
The win marks Head Coach James DeFeo’s first victory at Mercer. “For the first time this year, we were able to put all three phases of our game together: consistent hitting, pitching, and defense,” said the first hear head coach.
S. Santana (MU) 2-3, 3-run HR, 2B, BB, 4 RBIs…
J. Holsinger (MU) 4 IP, 0 R
Mercer 13, Western Caro. 2
The Bears would continue their success against the Catamounts. The Bears jumped out of the gates with three runs in the first, five in the second and four in the third.
Senior pitcher Kassie Bailey gave a solid effort as she went all five innings of the shortened contest. Bailey performed well at the plate as well with two doubles and two RBIs to support herself.
S. Stukes (MU) 1-2, Solo HR, 2 RBIs, 3 R…
K. Bailey (MU) 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER
Mercer 0, Florida St. 3
After back-to-back offensive explosions, the Bears ran into the stifling pitching of the host Florida State Seminoles.
Mercer freshman Jessica Holsinger followed her brilliant relief appearance against the Catamounts with an impressive six-inning performance against the Noles. She kept the Bears in the game and the 9-0 Noles in the park. Unfortunately, the Bears offense could not piece together any runs as FSU’s Lacey Waldrop tossed a complete-game shutout in the pitcher’s duel.
Standout performers: J. Holsinger (MU) 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER… L. Waldrop (FSU) 7 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 0 R
After the first two road tournaments of the season for the Bears softball squad, new head coach James DeFeo and his girls find themselves 2-7 overall with both wins coming against Western Carolina.
“During our first weekend out, there were many highs and lows in regards to our play. We scored first in every game, hit the ball very well, and played good defense,” said first year head coach James DeFeo. “On the pitching side of the ball, we struggled to hold the leads we gained every game,” he added.
With a wide array of young pitchers on the Bears staff, it is a matter of time that these girls settle into their roles and become accustomed to pitching at the collegiate level. As longs as runs are being plated, the pitching will improve and wins will come.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but as we boarded the bus on our way back to Macon, we knew as a team that we got better,” said DeFeo.
With all nine games coming on the road, the Bears better learn to like the trips as they still face 11 consecutive away matches leading into March.