NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- In its final day down at the Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Monroe College softball team split its last two games against Camden County College and USC Sumter. The Mustangs picked up an eight-run rule victory over Camden County, defeating the Cougars, 8-0, in five innings, but suffered a late defeat to USC Sumter, 7-6, to close out the day. The Mustangs leave Myrtle Beach with a 6-7 overall record.
Game 1: Monroe 8, Camden County 0 (5 INNINGS)
After a scoreless first, the Mustangs managed to load the bases with one away in the second. Breanna Kuhner then doubled to left, bringing in two runs, but a miscue by the second baseman allowed another runner to score, leaving the Mustangs up, 3-0.
Monroe struck quickly again in the fourth. Selena Aguirre led off with a triple to deep center, and then scored during the next at bat on a wild pitch to make it a 4-0 game.
Kimberly Zapata led off the bottom of the fifth with a single up the middle, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Brooke Kane then knocked her in with a one-out triple. Kane then scored on Abigail Cancilla's RBI single. Brianna Martinez followed with an RBI triple to center, and she was then brought in on an RBI single by Kuhner, ending the game via eight-run rule.
Brooke Kane picked up the win to improve to 3-3 on the year. She went the full five innings, allowing just two hits and no runs for the shutout victory. Camden County starter Brianna Kasprzak shouldered the loss after yielding eight runs in 4.1 frames.
Kuhner knocked in three RBIs after going 2-for-4 with a double. Aguirre, Cancilla and Martinez each hit 2-for-3 with two runs scored, with Aguirre and Martinez each hitting a triple. Kane batted 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run and a triple.
Game 2: USC Sumter 7, Monroe 6
USC Sumter managed to take the first lead of Thursday's back-and-forth contest with a run in the bottom of the first. With a runner on second and two outs, Brooke Ward hit a double to left, scoring Jayla Cowell to give the Fire Ants a 1-0 lead.
The Mustangs did not waste any time tying things up in the second. After a pair of singles, a groundout by Cancilla brought Zapata in from third to make it a 1-1 game.
USC Sumter's Laurel Shaw took advantage of having runners on second and third in the second, hitting an RBI single to center to put the Fire Ants back on top, 2-1.
Aguirre hit a one-out triple in the fourth, and was quickly brought in to score on an RBI single by Kane, knotting things up at 2-2.
Monroe loaded the bases in the top of the fifth with just one out in the inning. Later, with two outs, Kane roped a two-RBI single to left, bringing in Veronica Casanova and Zapata to put the Mustangs ahead, 4-2.
The Fire Ants took advantage of having the bases loaded in the home half of the fifth when Emily Holmes hit a sacrifice fly to get USC Sumter back within one, but the Mustangs managed to escape the inning with the lead.
In the sixth, an RBI double by Laurel Shaw tied the game up at 4-4, but Monroe was once again able to get out of the inning without giving up more runs.
Chantel Winstead opened the seventh with a single, and then Casanova doubled to put both runners in scoring position. Zapata then ripped a triple to right, scoring both runners to put the Mustangs up, 6-4, heading to the bottom of the final inning.
Kristen McKenzie opened the seventh with a triple for the Fire Ants. The next two batters managed infield singles, but each time McKenzie was held at third, loading the bases without any outs. Ashton Rogers then lined into a double play, getting McKenzie out trying to return to third and leaving Monroe one out away from a win. Another infield single would have loaded the bases, but an error on the play allowed a runner to score, getting the Fire Ants within one and putting runners on the corners. Shaw then hit a double to left, scoring both runners for a walkoff win.
Kane shouldered the loss to fall to 3-4 on the season for the Mustangs. Hannah Bettencourt picked up the win for USC Sumter.
Kane had another nice game at the plate for the Mustangs, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Zapata hit 2-for-3 with two RBIs, two runs and a triple. Casanova scored twice after going 2-for-4 with a double. Aguirre went 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored.
The Mustangs will now return home from Myrtle Beach and are set for their home opener on Saturday, March 17, at the Flowers Park Softball Field in New Rochelle. The Mustangs will host Cumberland Community College on Saturday, with the doubleheader set for starts of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.