BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The No. 13 Moravian College softball team finally got to open its 2018 home season at Blue & Grey Field on Thursday, and the Greyhounds made it a memorable sweep of DeSales University in non-conference action with the 3-2 victory in the opener giving Head Coach John Byrne his 800th career win. The Hounds would capture game two, 4-3 in eight innings.
Byrne has a record of 801-237 in 25 seasons after Moravian extended its winning streak to 13 games, and he becomes the ninth active and 12th coach in NCAA Division III history to reach the 800-win plateau. Byrne entered the season ranked eighth in the history of NCAA Division III with a .771 winning percentage, and he has guided the Greyhounds to three NCAA Division III World Series appearances, four NCAA Division III Regional Championships, 16 NCAA Division III playoff berths, 21 conference playoff appearances and 17 conference championships.
"Coach Byrne's accomplishment is impressive," noted Moravian Director of Athletics & Recreation Mary Beth Spirk. "He has etched his name in the record books across the country. The win total is outstanding and to achieve success year in and year out is even more impressive. John is a talented recruiter and knows how to motivate his student athletes to work hard, believe in each other and play for the success of the team. We are fortunate to have John a part of our department and look forward to future success this season and beyond."
In the opener, Moravian had six hits with freshman second baseman Shannon Brogan going 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Senior Josie Novak improved to 7-2 in the circle for the Hounds after allowing two runs on eight hits and a walk to go with six strikeouts.
The Blue and Grey took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning when junior designated player Kaela Kane led off with a single and scored on a two-out RBI single by Brogan.
The Hounds added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning when senior catcher Janae Matos hit a one-out double followed by an RBI triple from junior center fielder Kat Spilman that scored senior pinch runner Jackie Marshall. Brogan would connect on an RBI single that plated Spilman with what ended up being the winning run after DeSales scored twice in the top of the seventh inning.
Game two saw Moravian with six hits as junior third baseman Madison Shaneberger going 2-for-4.
Senior Amanda Carisone allowed three runs on six hits and four walks to go with seven strikeouts as she improved to 8-1 this spring.
Once again, Moravian opened the scoring in the second contest with two runs in the fourth inning. Spilman led off with an infield single and scored when freshman shortstop Maddisen Bieber drew a bases loaded walk. Sophomore left fielder Lauren Goetz also drew an RBI walk as Brogan scored after an infield single.
The Bulldogs answered with two runs in the top of the fifth inning to knot the score at 2-2.
The Greyhounds pulled back in front with a run on the sixth frame when Shaneberger led off with an infield single and race home on an RBI single by Goetz.
The Hounds were an out away from winning in the scheduled seven innings when DeSales tied the contest again. Moravian's defense would not allow a run in the top of the eighth as the teams went to the international tiebreaker with a runner starting the inning on second base.
The Blue and Grey would get the win in the home half of the eighth inning. Spilman started the frame on second base and scored on a one-out RBI single by senior first baseman Jean Markovic.
Moravian is slated to return to action on Saturday, April 7 in a Landmark Conference doubleheader versus Susquehanna University beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Blue & Grey Field.