VIRGINIA BEACH -- Drama, controversy, and excitement always seem to be a part of any softball competition between Christopher Newport University and Virginia Wesleyan College.
All three played out again on Sunday as two of the nation's top 10 teams collided in a non-conference doubleheader before a large crowd at Marlins Field. While No. 5 ranked CNU used a three-run home run to post a 4-1 victory in the first game, No. 10 VWC pounded out eight hits in the second game en route to an 8-2 win.
Virginia Wesleyan (3-1) outhit CNU (3-2) throughout the twinbill, connecting for 17 hits overall. The Captains finished with eight, highlighted by a three-run home run by senior All-American Sabrina Hill (Stafford/Mountain View) in the fifth inning of the first game to end a 1-1 tie.
Both teams recorded a run in the fourth inning. Tori Clarke (Denville, N.J./Morris Knolls) singled for CNU, scoring Simon who walked earlier. VWC tied the game when sophomore Blake Henderson (Virginia Beach/Ocean Lakes) singled home junior Kayla Dost (Bristow/Nokesville Brentsville), who led off with a double. The Captains took the lead in the next inning on Hill's two-out homer, scoring runners who reached base on an error and walk in front of her.
VWC threatened in the bottom of the seventh inning with bases loaded via an error and back-to-back singles from Kayla Malkos (Roanoke/Cave Spring) and Taylor Galvin (Virginia Beach/Kempsville), all with just one out. But, the threat ended there as the Captains turned a game-ending double play on a hard-hit liner from rookie Cassety Howerin (Dover, Del./Caesar Rodney).
Senior All-American Kristina Karagiorgis (Ashburn/Briarwoods)turned in a standout effort from the circle, striking out 10 batters. She walked four and scattered just three hits. CNU pitcher Krista Lewis (Chesapeake/Hickory) struck out one batter. Junior Courtney Bogan (Round Hill/Woodgrove), Dost, Malkos, and Henderson paced VWC with two hits each.
Junior Mary Shipp (Virginia Beach/First Colonial), last year's national leader in saves, improved to 2-0 as a starter, striking out six Captains in the second game. She allowed one walk and five hits.
CNU led 1-0 in the top of the third inning, as Rachael Shiflett (Powhatan/Powhatan) singled and eventually scored with the help of two Marlin errors. But, VWC recovered in the bottom of the same inning, combining two hits and two walks to drive in three runs for a lead never lost. Dost ripped a two-run single in the inning.
Virginia Wesleyan pulled away for good in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring five runs to make it an 8-1 game. Rookie Sami Pearce (Powhatan/Powhatan), Malkos, Galvin, and Howerin all singled for the Marlins to help create the big lead.
A Clark double in the fifth scored Shiflett, who singled in front of her, but the scoring ended there.
Hanah Marshall (Powhatan/Powhatan) absorbed the pitching loss for CNU, striking out two, walking five, and giving up eight hits and seven earned runs.
Galvin, Howerin, and Pearce all belted two hits each to lead VWC. Shiflett paced CNU with two hits.
VWC returns to competition on Tuesday, March 10, hosting No. 2 ranked Salisbury University in a non-conference doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. The SeaGulls opened their season on Sunday with a sweep of Cortland State University and The College of New Jersey.