The Drexel softball team continued its struggling start to the young season. The Dragons posted a disappointing 2-4 record (2-6 overall) Feb. 24-27.
The week started with a road trip south, as they traveled to Greensboro, N.C., for the Spartan Classic. Returning for the second year, the Dragons dropped three of four.
The Dragons began the road trip being swept Feb. 24. They received a spectacular pitching performance to open up the day from junior Shelby Taylor in a 1-0 loss to Quinnipiac University. The junior posted seven innings of one-run ball, scattering only five hits throughout the morning game. Unfortunately, it was wasted, as the Drexel offense was quieted by Hannah Lindsley in a one-hit shutout.
A few hours later, Drexel’s offense still was not awake. This time it was Marshall University’s Andi Williamson who allowed just one hit in a complete-game shutout, as she led Marshall to a 4-0 victory.
Drexel bounced back the next day and defeated Williamson and the Marshall Herd 4-3. Freshman infielder Ellen Scott had the big hit for the Dragons, a two-run single in a three-run fifth inning. Taylor picked up the team’s first win of the season in relief. Head coach Miranda Ervin attributed the win to a change in approach at the plate. Ervin said an effort to be more aggressive was key, as they racked up eight hits against Williamson.
There would be no winning streak, as Drexel followed up the victory with a 9-4 defeat in extra innings Feb. 25 to the hometown team, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The game was tied through seven, but the Dragons were done in by an error by junior Comfort Ahonkhai. The throwing error opened the door for five unearned runs and a tough loss for freshman pitcher Tara Konopka.
The Dragons split a doubleheader Feb. 27 with George Washington University. In Game 1 they were shut out for the third time in four days. GWU pitcher Meghan Rico limited Drexel to just one hit and completed the five-inning shutout.
The Dragons would bounce back and win 3-2 behind Taylor. Junior catcher Maddison Timoteo had the big hit, knocking in Taylor for the deciding run in the sixth. Along with scoring the winning run, Taylor evened her record at 2-2.
Eight games into the season, the Dragons are off to a 2-6 start for the third straight year. Despite the few wins, Ervin said she has been encouraged by her players’ improvement.
“The team is working hard every day, shown by how they’ve gotten better in season,” Ervin said.
Ervin saw some positives in her two pitchers, Taylor and Konopka. They should continue to impress as they gain more experience. Ervin said she views them as pitchers who can win big games down the line.
“Tara is young, so she has to try to not do too much,” Ervin said. “They both have the skills to take us far. They just need game experience.”
Up next in the condensed softball season is the Coastal Carolina Invitational. The Dragons will have five games on the docket.. The Dragons will take on both Wichita State University and the host, Coastal Carolina University, March 1. They will face Western Carolina University and the University at Albany March 2. They will wrap up the weekend trip with just one game March 3 against Western Carolina.
That is five games in 48 hours and four games in less than 24 hours. Ervin and the team know it is part of the game.
“This is what it’s about once the season starts,” Ervin said. “It’s about getting out there, resting, staying healthy and getting these games in.”
The team will get a day off before returning home for a doubleheader March 5 against Rider University. Despite the tight schedule and early struggles, Ervin said she expects the team to continue its improvements, play hard and get back in the win column.