CLERMONT, Fla. – Mount Ida College hit .375 as a team and got six hits over two games from junior Michele MacDonald (N. Dighton, Mass.), but were unable to collect their first win of the season, falling 8-2 to Juniata in their 2016 opener and then dropping a 14-8 decision to Coast Guard in the second half of their doubleheader at The Spring Games at Hancock Park.
Game One: Juniata 8, Mount Ida 2
In the season opener for both teams, Mount Ida struck first with two runs in the top of the first inning, but were held scoreless after that and saw the Eagles take advantage of seven errors for eight runs, four of them unearned.
Sophomore Hayley Microulis (Pawtucket, R.I.) and freshman Kelsey Weston (Hampstead, N.H.), who went 3-3 in her Mount Ida debut, each drove in runs with base hits in the first inning, a double for Weston, one of two on the day for her.
MacDonald had a 2-4 day and scored one of those runs after leading off the game with a bunt single, while also stealing a base in the loss.
Juniata got two runs back in the bottom of the first, including one when leadoff batter Paige Dennison (East Berlin, Pa.) knocked a single that was played into an inside the park home run by two Mount Ida miscues.
Designated hitter Abby Ebright (Harrisburg, Pa.) followed with a single and eventually scored as well, one of two hits and two runs she would register on the day.
The Eagles took the lead for good with a three-run bottom of the second, which include an RBI single by Ebright after they loaded the bases with nobody out.
Jennifer Carthew (New Paris, Pa.) also singled home a run, scoring Dennison for the second time on the day after she was hit by a pitch, one of four Eagles plunked by Mount Ida starter Nicole Handzel (Palmer, Mass.), who dropped to 0-1 after six innings of eight-hit ball in which she struck out seven and walked two.
Carthew scored as part of a double-steal in the bottom of the fourth and the Eagles tacked on two more runs in the fifth on a groundout by Lindsey Kosicki (Patton, Pa.) and a fielding error off the bat of Holly Bettinger (Hummelstown, Pa.).
Juniata starter Chrisi Lerchen (Annville, Pa.) earned the win, allowing just two runs over four innings of work with two strikeouts. Relievers Sarah Sotelo (Fairfax, Va.) and Maddie Garrick (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) each held the Mustangs scoreless and the group combined for four strikeouts without issuing a walk.
Game Two: Coast Guard 14, Mount Ida 8
MacDonald went 4-5 with three runs scored and another stolen base, and Mount Ida outhit the Bears 17-11, but were again hamstrung by eight errors, leading to eleven unearned runs for Coast Guard.
The Mustangs tried to mount a comeback in the seventh inning, seeing five straight girls reach base safely with two outs and scoring three runs, but it wasn't enough to overcome the nine-run deficit they were in, which was capped by a three-run home run to deep center field by Coast Guard left fielder Cherokee Strickland (Vancleave, Miss.) in the top of the seventh.
Microulis drove in four runs in the game with a 3 for 5 performance, and her single to right field in the bottom of the second tied the game at four after Coast Guard had scored twice in each of the first two innings. That hit followed a bases loaded walk by Lucianna Medici (Riverside, R.I.) and added to a single by Jenni Jackson (Marlborough, Mass.), which earned the Mustang freshman her first run batted in in the first inning.
Coast Guard took the lead again with two more runs in the third on a two-run homerun by Sharayah Simco (Florence, Ky.) and then added five runs in the top of the fourth, starting with a two-run double to right field by Strickland.
Hayden Short (Cullman, Ala.) and Kelli Franza (Roseto, Pa.) also drove in runs with base-hits, with two scoring on Franza's knock to left field.
Microulis hit a ground-rule double to left center to plate Medici, who had singled via bunt and then smartly advanced to second with nobody looking on the same play in the sixth inning.
After Strickland's homerun gave the Bears a nine-run cushion, Mount Ida got singles by Alexis Boswell (Amesbury, Mass.), MacDonald, Medici and Microulis to plate three runs in the seventh. Weston walked to prolong the rally, but Emily Dow (Topsfield, Mass.) got Jackson to strike out looking to earn her first victory of the year.
Dow tossed a complete game and allowing five earned runs with three walks and three strikeouts and throwing 131 pitches, 90 of them for strikes.
Microulis started in the circle for Mount Ida, taking the loss after allowing just three earned runs over four innings of work. Handzel came on in relief and struck out two over three innings without allowing an earned run.
The Mustangs take the field again at 9:00 AM tomorrow morning when they host local foes Newbury College at Foundation Academy. Following that game, Mount Ida will square off against another Massachusetts opponent in Gordon College at 11:00 AM.