The University of Dayton softball team participated in its third and final tournament of the season, the Combat Invitational, on Friday, March 1, and Sunday, March 3, hosted by Winthrop University in Rock Hall, S.C.
Overall, Dayton was able to earn split in the four games it played, recording two wins and two losses, with a fifth game against Monmouth University canceled due to snow on Saturday, March 2.
Head coach Cara LaPlaca said the team prepares for tournaments by practicing as if it was an ordinary game by focusing on the basics of softball.
“We just focused on fundamental play,” LaPlaca said. “Our pitching staff just needs to able to play five games.”
The Flyers got off on the wrong foot on Friday, losing to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro 6-4.
Ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, UD’s hopes of winning were spoiled by a walk-off three-run home run by freshman catcher Lindsay Thomas to win the game for UNCG.
Sophomore pitcher Kayla English (3-5) pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits, striking out six batters in the process. Redshirt sophomore shortstop Jordan Jennings went 3-for-4, recording two RBIs. Her teammate, sophomore left fielder Natalie Mariano finished 2-for-4 for the game.
The Flyers bounced back in game two on Friday, cruising against Hartford University 13-5.
Junior starting pitcher Alysha Isaacson (1-4) earned the win, allowing three earned runs in four innings of play.
The Flyers’ offense was led by junior third baseman Dana Trotta, who went 3-for-4 and drove in six RBIs, scoring twice herself. Senior right fielder Kathleen Maloof and Jennings both contributed three hits and together drove in five runs.
After the cancelation of games on Saturday due to the winter weather conditions, Dayton defeated Furman University 4-3 on Sunday.
English recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts in six innings of work, giving up just three earned runs. After her performance on the mound, she is now sixth overall in all-time career strikeouts list.
Isaacson picked up the save, downing all three batters she faced in the seventh. Freshman catcher Krista Guastafson and Jennings piloted UD’s offense during the game, both driving in a pair of runs.
In the final game of the tournament on Sunday, Dayton was defeated by the host Winthrop 7-2, fueled by six-runs in the fifth inning.
Dayton offense was steered by Trotta’s two hits and two RBIs. UD used five pitchers during the course of the game, with freshman pitcher Emily Froment starting and throwing 3 and 1/3 innings, and sophomore Lindsey Diggs, who threw 1 2/3 shutout innings.
LaPlaca said she thought the team accomplished what it set out to do, and were able to see what the team is capable of.
“We did a good job,” LaPlaca said. “We wanted to see what our pitching staff is capable of and we did just that.”
Now that the tournament portion of the team’s schedule is behind them, UD players are looking forward to playing at home for a change.
LaPlaca said playing at home has a huge impact on the team’s performance, which is something Maloof agrees with.
“We’re really looking forward to playing at home,” Maloof said. “It would be nice to play at home in Dayton, in front of our friends and family.”
UD returns to the diamond when it will host Ohio University at 3 p.m., on Wednesday, March 13, at UD Softball Stadium.