Feb. 19, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, NC - After retiring her first batter on one pitch to close out the Lady Broncos' three-run second inning, Concord relief pitcher Brooke Bowling tried to get off to a quick start to the third inning.
Fayetteville State's Jessica Randolph had other ideas.
On the first pitch she saw from Bowling, Randolph turned on the fastball and belted it high into the air and deep over the left-center field wall for the solo home run. Sure, it counted for only one run in the Lady Broncos' 11-4 rout of the Lady Lions in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, but it was an emphatic blast emblematic of the way the opening game went for the Lady Broncos, who won their third straight game with the victory.
Olivia Peavey (So, Siler, City, NC) won her first game as a member of the Lady Broncos. Peavey (1-1) worked five complete innings, scattering four runs on five hits while striking out three and walking four. Peavey had been out with an illness since the opening doubleheader of the season, but returned to give Fayetteville State enough in this one.
And she got a lot of help from her offense - early and often and especially from Randolph, who added two hits and three RBI in the second game, a 7-3 victory for the Lady Broncos' (4-2) fourth straight win.
"Jessica's young and she needs to be more consistent," said FSU head coach Miguel Justiniano, better known as "Coach Who." "She can still be anxious at the plate, chasing high pitches, so we have to tell her to wait a little and be patient. But when she waits..."
Misty Huber won her third straight complete game by earning the victory in the second game, allowing just three runs - one earned - on seven hits. Huber (3-1) did not walk a batter and struck out three. Huber was brutally efficient, retiring the first five batters she faced by coaxing ground balls to third baseman April Branch (Sr., Watha, NC) and shortstop Quristeen Brown (Fr., Greensboro, NC).
"When didn't have that kind of defense last year," said Coach Who. "We couldn't do that. Now Misty can throw her dropball and let the defense do the work."
Fayetteville State took a 3-0 lead after the first inning of the first game following a two-run double by Peavey and a sacrifice fly from Randolph.
Concord responded with two runs in the top of the second to get within a run, but Fayetteville State regained control after three runs in the second inning, chasing Lady Lions starting pitcher Rachael Mack after 1 2-3 innings following an unearned run and a two-run single by Brown.
That was all Concord coach Sabrina McCullough needed to see of Mack, and brought in Bowling, who retired Peavey on a soft liner to second base on the first pitch she threw.
Bowling wasn't so fortunate in the Broncos' third as Randolph quickly erased the run the Lady Lions pushed across in the top half of the inning with Fayetteville State's first home run of the season. The Broncos weren't done there, though, getting three more runs on a bases-loaded walk and two errors to effectively put the Lady Lions away.
LoTonia Gatling (Jr. Suffolk, VA) had two hits in the first game for the Lady Broncos.
Fayetteville State got off to a quick start in the second game as well, getting a two-run double from Randolph in the opening frame and then an RBI single by Alea Mitchell and a sacrifice fly by Randolph to build a 4-0 lead through two innings. The Lady Broncos tacked on one more run on an error in the third and then single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to preserve the victory.
Fayetteville State hosts Shepherd at noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday at Ferguson Easley Elementary School's field.