How it Happened
Rhode Island came up just short short in its season opener, falling to North Texas, 7-5, at the Elon Softball Tournament.
The Rams (0-1) got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the second. Erika Yeager drew a one-out walk and advanced on Paige Julich's infield single. A walk to Bri Castro loaded the bases, and Yeager scored when Rachel Kuhlman worked the third walk of the inning. An Emily Zembik single brought in Julich to cap the rally.
North Texas (2-3) came right back with two runs in the top of the third. The Mean Green added one more in the fourth and two in the fifth to establish a 5-2 lead.
Rhody again capitalized on pitch control issues for North Texas in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases on walks to Abigail Bates and Abby Fenbert before Melanie Martire was hit by a pitch. Yeager doubled to the gap in right center, bringing Bates and Fenbert in and putting two runners in scoring position with no outs. However, a pop out, fly out and strikeout ended the threat with no further scoring.
North Texas padded its lead in the top of the sixth when a pair of errors led to two unearned runs.
The Rams managed to get the eventual tying runs on base in the bottom of the seventh. Melanie Martire reached on an error. Pinch runner Rebecca Simms came around to score on Yeager's second double of the day. Walks to Castro and Zembik loaded the bases with two outs, but a strikeout ended the game.
Inside the Box Score
- Sophomore Erika Yeager opened the season swinging a hot bat, reaching base safely in all four of her plate appearances. She doubled twice, singled, walked, scored one run and drove in three.
- Sophomore Emily Zembik and senior Paige Julich each singled twice. Zembik also walked once and drove in one run, while Julich scored once.
- Senior Rachel Kuhlman walked and had one run batted in.
- Senior Bri Castro walked twice.
- Freshmen Abby Fenbert and Abigail Bates each started in their collegiate debut. Both players walked and scored one run.
- Freshman pitcher Riley Kernan made her collegiate debut. She allowed no earned runs on three hits over 2.2 innings of relief.
- Junior Rebecca Simms appeared as a pinch runner and scored once.
Stat of the Game
6 – Rhode Island has dropped its season opener in each of the last six seasons. The last time it won its first game was 2012 in a 6-5, nine-inning game against Central Arkansas. Since 2000, the Rams are 1-18 in season openers.
Rhode Island plays a second game on Friday, going against host Elon at 4:45 p.m.