Kovac shines in softball season-opener

Meg Nolen & Bethany Blass, Contributing Writer and Sports Co-Editor

 

Meghan Kovac ’18 and Lauren Hadley ’19 had stellar performances for the Bison softball team in season-opening games at the East Carolina University Pirate Clash on Feb. 19-21. The Orange and Blue finished the tournament with a 2-3 overall record, facing host team East Carolina in three nail-biting games. In recognition of their performances, Kovac and Amanda Fazio ’16 each earned a Corvias Patriot League Softball weekly award.

“The team was really excited to get out on dirt this past weekend, and what we have been practicing on defense in the fieldhouse translated very well to being outside for the first time since the fall,” Fazio said.

The impressive team effort against Saint Francis on Feb. 19 led to a 5-3 victory for the Bison. Fazio pitched an impressive game, only allowing one run scored over five innings. Heading into the fourth inning with a 0-0 tie, the Orange and Blue managed to score two runs and added another three the next inning. Anna Gimmestad ’19 and Chaylen Andolino ’17 had impressive performances and contributed to the Bison’s success by furthering their runners. After Fazio’s notable effort, Lara Bean ’17 took over in the sixth inning and didn’t allow any runs.

The Orange and Blue’s 6-1 defeat over East Carolina wouldn’t have been possible without the pitching efforts of Dana Nielsen ’16. Carolyn Wan ’17 contributed to an impressive play in the sixth inning, as she had a leadoff single that led to a run.

“As a whole, we wanted to score more runs than we did this past weekend, but we are putting a lot of people on base and staying consistent every inning, so we know that with some more work at practice we will get to where we want to be very soon, offensively,” Fazio said.

Continuing play at the Pirate Clash, the Bison faced UMass and East Carolina again on day two, but fell to both teams. The 3-2 loss to UMass was a close game, but the Bison were unable to recover. Standout performances from Kovac and Fazio kept the Bison alive and hopeful for a victory. Despite the Orange and Blue’s previous win, East Carolina dominated the Bison 8-3, drawing help from nine walks. The fourth inning proved to be successful for East Carolina, as they concluded the inning with an impressive six runs.

To conclude play at the Pirate Clash, the Bison faced host team East Carolina for the third time, and again finished in a 0-1 loss. Fazio only conceded one run on six hits during the entire game, tallying five strikeouts and one walk. Wan, Kovak, and Gimmestad continued to impress the crowd with stellar performances.

Fazio, who would later be named Corvias Patriot League Pitcher of the Week, pitched 19 innings over four games, spanning the entire weekend. Kovac was recognized as Corvias Patriot League Player of the Week, as she kicked off the season with an impressive five-game hitting record, going 11-for-16 at the plate.

“What makes this team so special is that every player can be a major contributor at any time throughout the game. Every game we want any player from top to bottom to be able to make an impact when called on and compete, and I truly believe we have that quality,” Fazio said.

The Bison will next travel to Wilmington, N.C. on Feb. 26-28  to compete in the UNCW Invitational.

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