Fortunes have been mixed for the Drexel softball team recently. On the one hand, they went 3-1 at the War Eagle Classic March 9-11, beating Presbyterian College, Evansville College and Louisiana Tech University, with their only loss being a 12-0 defeat at the hands of 20th-ranked Auburn University — the War Eagle Classic host.
Yet on the other side of the spectrum, the Dragons were blanked 3-0 in their home opener against Georgetown University March 14. The result snapped a two-game winning streak, which came against the previously mentioned Evansville and Louisiana Tech, and also saw them fall to 6-10 on the season overall.
Six teams took part in the War Eagle Classic, and Drexel finished an impressive second at 3-1. Things started well for the Dragons in Alabama as they defeated Presbyterian 6-5 March 9. A three-run fourth inning and a two-run fifth inning propelled the Dragons to a 5-2 lead after five innings. After adding a sixth run in the seventh inning, they withstood a three-run surge from Presbyterian in the bottom of the seventh to hold on for the win, although not before Presbyterian had the bases loaded with one out. Luckily for Drexel, they hit into two groundouts caused by sophomore pitcher Shelby Allen to squeak by with a 6-5 win.
However, circumstances were vastly different in the second game for Drexel against the Tigers. Simply put, Auburn was a class above the Dragons on the day. The game was effectively done and dusted after the top of the first; Auburn scored nine runs in the inning, seven of which were giving up by senior starting pitcher Hillary Allen, who was knocked out of the game before even recording an out. The offensive efficiency of Auburn was simply too strong to contain for Allen. In addition to giving up seven runs, she also gave up three hits, walked three Auburn batters and hit one as well. Auburn added three more runs in the fifth inning to complete the 12-0 shutout. Not only did Auburn dominate offensively, their pitching stifled Drexel as well, as the Dragons could only get one hit off of Auburn senior starter Jenee Loree, who also struck out five Drexel batters.
Nevertheless, the Dragons rebounded nicely, winning their final two games against Evansville and Louisiana Tech.
The Evansville matchup was a pitchers’ duel, as both teams combined for a grand total of 15 hits — eight for Drexel and seven for Evansville. The one-two pitching tandem of sophomore Shelby Taylor and Allen combined for the eight-inning shutout, with Taylor getting five strikeouts in 5.1 innings and Allen, with the win, striking out three in 2.2 innings pitched.
The winning run for the Dragons came in extra innings in the bottom of the eighth. Due to tiebreaker rules, Drexel started out the inning with a runner on second base — was senior infielder Devin Metcalf. After two walks and a single, Drexel had an opportunity to win the game with runners on first and third. Albeit, the winning run came home not via a base hit or a walk but through a hit by pitch, as junior infielder and outfielder Amanda Bachmann was inexplicably hit by a pitch, driving home Metcalf and giving Drexel a closely contested 1-0 win.
Drexel won another extra-inning game the next day against Louisiana Tech, coming back from a 5-3 deficit in the fifth inning to tie the game at 5-5 and force extra innings. In the eighth inning, Drexel scored two runs to take a 7-5 lead and held off a rally by Louisiana Tech for the 7-6 victory.
Upon returning home to Philadelphia, the Dragons were looking to extend their winning streak to three games in their home opener versus Georgetown. Unfortunately, Georgetown would have none of that, and the Hoyas shut out Drexel 3-0. The game was scoreless through two when Georgetown took the lead. Hoyas freshman starting pitcher Megan Hyson got the ball rolling with a one-hit double. She would score two batters later on a wild pitch from Taylor.
Despite the fact that Georgetown would later add two runs in the fourth and seventh innings, respectively, it could have easily been more if not for the fine pitching efforts of Taylor and Allen. Despite giving up an RBI bloop single to left-center in the fourth, Taylor held her nerve and got out of the rest of the inning relatively unscathed, stranding runners at second and third via a rundown for the second out and a groundout for the third.
Allen did her part in the next two innings, giving up no runs while striking out two. Perhaps unluckily, Georgetown managed a single run in the top of the seventh inning to make it 3-0. Speaking after the game, head coach Kim Camara talked about the misfortunes faced by Drexel’s pitching.
“Georgetown just executed,” she said. “Shelby and Hillary pitched well. They were able to score the runs they needed.”
Conversely, Drexel’s bats were silent on the afternoon due to the dominating pitching efforts of Megan Hyson. Hyson went the full seven, striking out five while allowing only four hits and two walks. Camara attributed the Dragons’ offensive difficulties to their failure to adjust.
“We never adjusted to their pitching,” Camara said. “[Hyson] pitched a great game. We didn’t challenge her as much as we should have. Ultimately, we’re good enough to score two or three runs. We’re a good enough offensive team; it just didn’t happen today.”
Drexel had the chance to score in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings but came away empty-handed each time. The sixth inning saw Drexel’s best opportunity to score with a single by Collins and a walk by Jenn Redding, giving the Dragons runners on first and second with two outs. Unfortunately, Allen struck out to end the inning.
Drexel will look to turn things around in this 2012 season March 16-17 at the Hampton Inn Camel Stampede Tournament on the campus of Campbell College in Buies Creek, N.C. They will play consecutive doubleheaders against North Carolina Central University and host Campbell College.