TUCSON, Ariz. --- The No. 17 Moravian College softball team split a pair of games on the opening day of the 2018 season as the Greyhounds defeated Whitworth (Wash.) University, 12-4 in five innings, before falling to No. 1 and defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan University, 2-1 in eight innings, in the final contest of the day at the 2018 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Leadoff Classic in Tucson.
The Hounds opened the season and tournament with the win over Whitworth as the squad pounded out 14 hits led by a 3-for-3 game by senior catcher Janae Matos, who also had a double, a triple and five RBIs. Junior left fielder Kat Spilman, senior first baseman Jean Markovic and junior third baseman Madison Shaneberger were all 2-for-3 with Markovic connecting on a double and two RBIs and Spilman adding a home run and two RBIs. Sophomore shortstop Lauren Goetz was 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs in the victory.
Senior Amanda Carisone went the distance in the circle for Moravian, allowing four runs, three earned, on four hits and two walks to go with a strikeout for her first win of the season.
Whitworth scored the opening run of the game in the top of the first inning before the Greyhounds tied the score in the home half of the first. Freshman right fielder Brooke Wehr led off with an RBI single and would score on an RBI single by Matos.
The Hounds took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Markovic led off with a single and moved to third on a double by Shaneberger. Markovic would cross the plate on an RBI sacrifice fly by Goetz.
The Pirates tied the game in the top of the third inning with a run. The Blue and Grey answered with three runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good at 5-2. Junior second baseman Kaela Kane singled with one out and scored on an RBI double by Matos. Spilman singled, her 100th career hit and the 45th player in school history to reach the milestone, and Markovic followed with a two-RBI double.
Moravian added five runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 10-2. Matos had a three-RBI triple that scored Kane, Goetz and sophomore center fielder Emily Stanilious. Spilman followed with a two-run homer to score Matos.
Whitworth cut the lead to 10-4 with two runs in the top of the fifth but the Greyhounds answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning for the NCAA eight-run rule to end the game. Shaneberger led off with a single and came all the way around to score on an error before Goetz ended with game with an RBI double that plated senior pinch runner Jackie Marshall.
Moravian jumped out to a 1-0 lead over Virginia Wesleyan when Wehr led off the game with a solo home run.
The contest would remain that way until Virginia Wesleyan scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game. The Marlins would get the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
The Hounds had just five hits in the game with Spilman going 2-for-3 with a triple. Senior Josie Novak took the loss in the circle after allowing two unearned runs on seven hits and a walk to go with three strikeouts.
The Greyhounds are slated to return to action on the second day of the NFCA Division III Leadoff Classic with games versus Wittenberg (Ohio) University at 12:00 p.m. and Massachusetts Institute of Technology at 2:30 p.m. EST.