GAFFNEY, S.C. – No. 20 California (Pa.) posted a 4-2 extra-inning victory against North Greenville (S.C.) on Saturday before suffering a 7-0 loss to No. 3 North Georgia while competing at the Saints Invitational hosted by Limestone (S.C.).
With the split, the Vulcans move to 4-3 this season with a 2-2 mark in the Saints Invitational. Meanwhile, North Greenville fell to 3-8 this year and North Georgia improved to 14-2 after finishing 51-2 and playing in the national championship game last season.
Against North Greenville, Cal U scored two runs in the top of the eighth to break a 2-2 tie. With a runner on second to start the inning due to international tiebreaker rules, the Vulcans scored the first run on a sacrifice fly by freshman second baseman Shelby Lia before junior shortstop Jillian Russell lined a two-out, RBI double to increase the lead to 4-2.
Freshman Hope Spancake earned the win after working 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, yielding only three hits and no walks. Classmate Kaitlyn Schilling took a no-decision in her second career start, allowing two runs (one earned) with six strikeouts in 5.0 innings.
Cal U scored the first runs of the game in the fifth when senior Sarah Spiering collected a two-out, two-run single through the middle. The Crusaders answered with an unearned run in the fifth before tying the game in the bottom of the sixth. After the Vulcans took the lead in the eighth, North Greenville moved a runner to third before Russell threw out a runner at home attempting to score followed by Spancake striking out the final batter of the game to secure the 4-2 victory.
Russell, junior left fielder Kristen McKenzie and freshman right fielder Stephani Ellis each posted two hits in the victory, combining for six of the team’s nine hits.
In the second game on Saturday, North Georgia jumped out to a 1-0 lead when left fielder Ansley Williams led off the game with a solo homer before NGC scoring a pair of unearned runs later in the inning. North Georgia added to its lead in the sixth by scoring two runs on a fielding error and later scored two insurance runs in the seventh on a homer by third baseman Hilary Cox.
Spancake started the nightcap and suffered the loss after allowing seven runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 6.1 innings with six strikeouts. Saints’ starter Jessica Coan earned the victory after limiting the Vulcans to only one hit and registering 11 strikeouts in 6.0 innings.
McKenzie and Ellis were the only Vulcans to record a hit against North Georgia, both finishing 1 for 3.