Softball struggles to find a rhythm at Crabtree Hill Invitational

Bri Pomonis, Senior Writer

The Bison softball team faced some of their toughest competitors of the season in their second consecutive weekend in North Carolina. A stretch of wins from last week’s Campbell Invitational came to a sharp end after the Bison finished the Crabtree Hill Invitational with a 0-5 record. This brings their overall record for the season to 6-8.

“We aren’t typically a results-focused team. However, that doesn’t mean losing doesn’t sting. Obviously, going 0-5 on the weekend wasn’t what we wanted and there were certainly moments we didn’t play to our standard, but our team and coaches can agree that we did a lot more good than bad on the field. To us, this past weekend was a learning experience, and we continue working hard to be successful over spring break and in Patriot League play,” Halie Mariano ’20 said.

The Orange and Blue faced Indiana University on opening day, Feb. 21. The Hoosiers made swift business of grabbing their first win, building on a scoreless first inning to add 13 runs from 12 hits before ending the game in five innings. The Bison, who hold an 11-40 record against Big 10 schools, were held at zero hits and runs for a final score of 0-13.

The second game, against North Carolina State, was a closer contest, although four runs in the sixth ultimately secured the 4-9 game for the Wolfpack. A two-run homer from Mariano earned the Bison a temporary 3-2 lead at the top of the fifth, with Taylor Wolfgang ’21 and Nicole Rivait ’22 posting the other two runs.

The next day’s rematch with the Hoosiers began with an astounding start from the Bison, who managed to hold the lead throughout the first five innings thanks to a three-run homer from Rivait at the bottom of the first. The Hoosiers were unable to respond for the next three innings until eventually evening the score with a single in the sixth. Coming off a record-breaking weekend, Raeanne Geffert ’20 returned to the mound in to strike out five Indiana batters and lead the game into extra innings. The game came to a close when the Hoosiers brought in five unmatched runs in the eighth, bringing the final score to 3-8 for Indiana.

The Bison held another early lead in Saturday’s game against Saint Joseph’s, up until the Hawks posted six runs in the final two innings. Chase Knapp ’23 scored on a fielder’s choice after hitting a triple in the second, followed by a home run from Rivait to round off the Bison’s two runs of the game.

In the final game of the weekend, the North Carolina State Wolfpack topped the Orange and Blue for the second time, with a strong fight from the Bison that narrowed the final margin to 1-2. The Wolfpack’s early 2-0 lead was contested by a run after a walk from Rivait put the Bison on the board. Two more runners made it to base from singles in the seventh but were unable to close the gap.

“Going into this weekend, I think we just wanted to play to our standards and trust the work we’ve put in. To us, it’s less about the end result and more about the process that goes into it. Knowing we’d be playing more competitive opponents this weekend was exciting for us, as we always look forward to a challenge, even if we’re not expected to win. In the past, we’ve played a super competitive non-conference schedule which has prepared us to be successful in Patriot League play, so we were mainly focused on being competitive and getting better each game,” Mariano said.

The Bison will recover from two strenuous weekends while preparing for the Thundering Herd Round Robin on March 7.

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