PHILADELPHIA – The UNCW softball team opened Colonial Athletic Association play with a split of its road doubleheader against Drexel Saturday at Drexel Field.

In the league opener for both programs, the Dragons (8-11) took the first contest with a 5-4 victory before the Seahawks (14-15) rallied for a 3-1 triumph in the nightcap.

The two teams will conclude their three-game series Sunday with an 11 a.m. contest.

HOW IT HAPPENED (Game One): Drexel took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a RBI single by freshman Baeley Reed, only to see the Seahawks tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the second on a leadoff home run by freshman Nella Chamblee.

The Dragons regained their lead, 2-1, in the third on a run-scoring single by sophomore Karli Boyer and added another run in the fourth on a RBI single from junior Leticia Matsuoka to take a 3-1 advantage.

UNCW cut into the Drexel lead in the top of the fifth with a bunt single by freshman Merritt Wilkinson that scored fellow freshman Lauren Moore and made it a 3-2 contest, only to see the Dragons respond with a two-run home run from senior Maddison Timoteo in the bottom half of the frame to build a 5-2 cushion.

The Seahawks got within one in the sixth as a RBI single by junior Kristen Jernigan and a squeeze play by senior Brittany Gamby made it a 5-4 contest. UNCW threatened to tie the game later in the inning as it loaded the bases with two outs, but sophomore Tara Konopka retired the next batter she faced to end the inning.

IN THE CIRCLE (Game One): Senior Shelby Taylor got the win for the Dragons to improve to 6-3 on the season. In five innings in the circle, Taylor allowed two runs on seven hits. She struck out three. Konopka pitched the final two innings for Drexel to earn her first save of the season. She surrendered two runs on one hit and four walks.

Junior Casey Rowland took the loss for the Seahawks to move her season record to 7-6. In six innings in the circle, Rowland gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks. She struck out five.

AT THE PLATE (Game One): Matsuoka went 3-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored to lead the Drexel attack. Timoteo was 1-for-1 with two RBI in a pinch-hitting role while Reed and Boyer drove in one run each.

Chamblee went 1-for-4 with a solo home run to highlight a UNCW lineup that saw eight different players record a base hit in the contest.  

INSIDE THE BOXSCORE (Game One): The two teams combined to leave 18 runners on base (UNCW 10; Drexel 8) … All but one of UNCW’s nine starters had a base hit in the contest … The two teams combined to put their leadoff runner on base in nine of 14 attempts … Drexel scored all five of its runs with two outs … Only one player had multiple base hits in the contest (Matsuoka).

HOW IT HAPPENED (Game Two): UNCW jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as it used a sacrifice fly by Chamblee and a two-out single by senior Casey Shue to gain the early advantage.

The Seahawks added an insurance run in the sixth on a double from freshman Claudia Spinelli that plated Rowland and made it a 3-0 contest.

Drexel finally got on the board in the seventh inning as a two-out double by Matsuoka trimmed the Seahawks advantage to 3-1. The Dragons would bring the tying run to the plate two batters later, but an interference call ended the contest.

IN THE CIRCLE (Game Two): Freshman Peyton Jordan got the win for UNCW as she improved her record to 6-8. Jordan allowed just one run (unearned) on five hits and one walk in seven innings of work. She struck out five.

Konopka took the loss for the Dragons to move her record to 2-6. In 6.2 innings in the circle, Konopka surrendered three runs on five hits and seven walks. Konopka finished with seven strikeouts.

AT THE PLATE (Game Two): Freshman Lauren Moore went 2-for-2 to highlight a UNCW lineup that finished with five hits in the contest. Shue was 1-for-2 with a RBI while Spinelli was 1-for-1 with a RBI in a pinch-hitting role.

Reed went 2-for-3 and Matsuoka was 1-for-3 with one RBI for Drexel. Taylor and freshman Kim Chan accounted for the Dragons other two base hits in the contest.

INSIDE THE BOXSCORE (Game Two): The two teams combined to leave 18 runners on base (UNCW 10; Drexel 8) … UNCW committed three errors in the contest … The Dragons top three hitters were a combined 4-for-12 at the plate … Junior Jessica Rappe was walked in all three of her plate appearances … The Seahawks were a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts in the contest.

NOTES:  The games were just the third and fourth true road contests of the season for the Seahawks … UNCW is now 1-3 this season in true road contests and 3-6 in games away from home this season … UNCW improved to 9-6 this season when it scores in the first inning as it plated two runs in the first frame of game two … Freshman Nella Chamblee’s two RBI today increased her team-leading total to 19 … Chamblee’s home run in game one was her team-best third long-ball of the season … Freshman Merritt Wilkinson has now reached base safely in 20 straight contests … Sophomore Erin Brown has reached base safely in eight straight games.