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Lady Braves drop opening series of 2012

By Nick Phillips

February 9, 2012

Natalie Klemnann
Photo by Mindy Hubbard
UNCP's Natalie Klemann delivers a pitch during the Lady Braves' 2012 season opening series against Kutztown. Klemann and the Lady Braves dropped all three games in the series.

The UNCP softball team dropped its opening three games of the new season on Feb. 3 and 4, as visiting Kutztown came in and swept the Lady Braves in the three-game series.

Kutztown took the season opener by a 3-1 score before finishing off their trip with a pair of wins on Feb. 4, by scores of 5-2 and 9-1.

Game one

In the first game, UNCP committed four errors that led to two of Kutztown's three runs in the win.

The Lady Braves finished with nine hits in the contest, with three each from redshirt-senior Kristen Hobbs and freshman Megan Hillard.

Hillard notched an RBI when she drove in UNCP's only run in the third inning as senior Jamie Burwell scored.

Burwell started for the Black and Gold in the circle, saddling the loss after allowing three runs on five hits and striking out four in seven innings.

Kutztown grabbed an early lead in the first inning with the help of two UNCP errors before the hosts were able to tie the game in the bottom of the third off Hillard's RBI single.

Heather Hannum connected on a solo home run in the fourth inning to give the visitors the lead for good before they added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with some assis- tance from another UNCP error.

Game Two

The Lady Braves came out looking for a more crisp defensive effort in the second game of the series, but saw Kutztown use eight hits to grab a three-run win.

The visitors jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the first two innings before tallying three more runs in the fifth inning.

Freshmen Brea Hartley and Kaytee Wilson each finished with two hits, as Wilson notched the only RBI in the game for UNCP. Heartley and senior Ashley Harrell crossed the plate to score the Lady Braves' two runs.

Sophomore Natalie Klemann started for UNCP and took the loss in the circle after going 4-2/3 innings and allowing all eight hits and five runs by Kutztown while striking out three. Burwell came on to finish out the game and struck out one batter in her 2-1/3 innings of work.

Kutztown scored its first run off a sacrifice fly in the opening inning before Kelly Fitzgerald connected for a solo homer in the second inning.

The Lady Braves posted their first run in the third when Harrell singled to start the inning before coming around to score on a throwing error.

The visitors' three-run fifth came from an RBI single and a two-run homer from Brianna Knipe before UNCP scored its final run in the bottom of the seventh when Hartley scored on Wilson's RBI double.

Game three

In the series' final game, Kutztown used a five-run first inning and a three-run fifth to close out a 9-1 win in five innings.

Sophomore Taylor Cloninger tallied three hits and freshman Karlee Wilson collected two hits of her own to lead the Lady Braves in the loss. Hartley and Harrell notched one hit each to round out the UNCP hit total. The Lady Braves left seven total runners on base in the loss.

Junior Starr Gilley got the start in the circle for the hosts and took the loss, going only 2/3 of an inning while allowing five runs and five hits before being pulled. Burwell allowed four runs of her own over the final 4-1/3 innings.

Down 6-0, the Lady Braves saw their only run of the game come in the bottom of the third inning when Harrell singled up the middle before moving around the bases and scoring.

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